Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1928 : being a study of the first makers of the Constitution and the story of their lives, of their descendents and of all who have come"

See other formats


jniversity of 



BOOK 974.62.B939H v. 1 c. 1 

3 T1S3 00055802 5 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 


Thomas Hooker delivering before the General Court the Sermon on which the World's 

First Written Constitution was based. From Memorial Window in the 

Edifice of his Church today. 



Hartford County 



Being a Study of the Makers of the First Constitution and 

the Story of Their Lives, of Their Descendants 

and of All Who Have Come 

BY s ), uJ 


Volume I 




Alphabetical Index for Volumes I and II at Page 1363, Volume II 

































TIONS 113 


















































































MEN 619 






















NAME 771 



SOLDIERS i_ 787 



LEADERS — 821 

2— VO 7 ,. 1 















• V 1827— WOMEN IN POLITICS 895 



























TRIES 1160 






SERVES 1212 




MENT 1250 











"Consent of the People" Frontispiece 

Dutch Map of Connecticut, 1650 5 

View of Fort Amsterdam (New York) Nieuw Niederlandt 9 

Rev. Thomas Hooker — Statue at Capitol 13 

Drawing up the "Fundamental Orders," the world's first written Constitution 17 

Confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut rivers 19 

Glacier marks, Summit Park, near Trinity College 21 

Vagaries of Connecticut River — Barber's map 25 

Map made by W. DeLoss Love for his book "Colonial History of Hartford" 35 

Thomas Hooker and his congregation passing through the wilderness 43 

Map of Hartford in 1840 67 

First Meeting-House built in Connecticut 1 79 

State House Square in 1825 79 

First Church of Christ, Hartford 103 

John Winthrop, Governor 1657, 1659-1676 115 

Fitz John Winthrop, Governor 1698-1707 115 

Charter Oak and Governor Wyllys Mansion 139 

Colony's historic Charter, under Stuart's portrait of Washington 143 

Connecticut's first State House 159 

Stone Arch Bridge, Main Street, Hartford , 159 

Jonathan Edwards 169 

Governor's Foot Guard in Review before King of Belgians, 1926 182 

Silas Deane 187 

The Deane House, Wethersfield 187 

Jonathan Trumbull, Governor 1769-1784 193 

The Webb House, Wethersfield 201 

Newgate Prison, East Granby 211 

Coat of Arms, after City's Seal Adopted in 1852 221 

The first Seal of City of Hartford, 1785 221 

Original model of John Fitch's steamboat 227 

The Colonial Town Meeting (from poem "McFingal") 233 

John Trumbull 237 

Timothy Dwight J 237 

Old State House, Hartford, before Cupola was added 249 

Bulfinch State House and Park, Hartford, about 1825 253 

Old State House, Hartford, 1927 253 

Fire in State House Square, Hartford 257 

Nathaniel Terry 261 

Reduced facsimile of second policy issued by Hartford Fire Insurance Company, 

1794 - 261 

Office of Hartford Fire Insurance Company, 1859-1870 265 

Hartford Fire Insurance Company 265 

Thomas K. Brace, First President Aetna Insurance Company 269 

State Street Office of Aetna Insurance Company, 1837-1867 269 

Aetna Insurance Company, Hartford 269 

First Policy issued by the Aetna Insurance Company 271 

Thomas H. Gallaudet, founder of School for Deaf 279 

American School for the Deaf, West Hartford 279 

The Hartford Retreat 283 

Hartford "Courant" Building 287 

First Office of the Hartford "Times," 1817 291 



Hartford "Times" Building 291 

Hartford from Eastern Bank of the Connecticut River, 1838 295 

Main Street, Hartford, early nineteenth century 295 

The Rev. Arthur Cleveland Coxe, D. D. __i 299 

Bishop T. C. Brownell, D. D 1 303 

Eastern view of Washington College, now Trinity, 1840 303 

Trinity College, Hartford, Campus and Athletic Field 307 

Lydia Huntley Sigoumey, 1791-1825 311 

Sigourney Mansion, Hartford, 1820 311 

Looking northeast, Hartford, about 1848 315 

Hartford about 1850 ___ 315 

The Dime Savings Bank of Hartford 319 

Directors' Room, Dime Savings Bank, Hartford 319 

Interior, Society for Savings, Pratt Street, Hartford 323 

State Savings Bank, Hartford 327 

First National Bank, Hartford 327 

Connecticut River Banking Company and Travelers Bank and Trust Company, 

Hartford 327 

Mechanics Savings Bank, Pearl Street, Hartford 329 

Hartford, from the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, 1849 331 

Hartford, from east side of the Connecticut River, 1841 331 

The Rev. Dr. Horace Bushnell 335 

The Rev. J. W. Pennington, colored preacher 335 

Rev. John Brady 335 

The Rev. William W. Patton, D. D 335 

South Church, Main Street, Hartford 339 

Bicentennial Celebration, South Congregational Church, Hartford, 1870 339 

South Park Congregational Church, Hartford 343 

Central Baptist Church, Hartford 343 

Olivet Baptist Church, Hartford ' 347 

Asylum Avenue Baptist Church, Hartford 347 

St. John's Church, Hartford 350 

James Goodwin 353 

Guy R. Phelps 353 

The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, Hartford 353 

Insurance appeal in the '60s 357 

The Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, Hartford 357 

Phoenix Fire Insurance Company, Hartford 361 

Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Hartford : 361 

Samuel Colt 365 

Hon. Morgan Gardner Bulkeley 369 

Aetna Life Insurance Company, Hartford 369 

"Jumbo" one of the first and largest fire engines 373 

National Fire Insurance Company, Hartford 373 

Hartford in the Connecticut River flood of 1854 376 

Mrs. Florence Paull Berger 379 

Charles A. Goodwin 379 

Frank B. Gay 379 

Daniel Wadsworth 379 

Albert C. Bates, Librarian Connecticut Historical Library 383 

Miss Caroline M. Hewins, Librarian 383 

Truman R. Temple, Librarian 383 

Avery Hall — Case Memorial Library 387 

Academic Procession and Hosmer Hall, Hartford Seminary Foundation 387 

Horace Wells 393 

Bronze Memorial, Main and Asylum Street (Horace Wells) _ 393 

Old People's Home — Hartford Hospital 397 

Hartford Hospital 397 

Beginning of Bushnell Park, Hartford 402 

Main and Pearl Streets, Hartford, in the '60s 405 

Present Shopping District of Hartford in Civil War times 409 

Union Hall and Main Street, Hartford, in Civil War times 409 

Putnam Phalanx in Parade in Paris, 1926 413 


Gideon Welles, 1802-1878 417 

General Alfred H. Terry, 1827-1890 417 

General Joseph Roswell Hawley, 1826-1905 421 

Hawley Bronze Memorial at Capitol main entrance 421 

Campfield Memorial 425 

Bird's-eye View of Hartford, 1869 ' 433 

Hartford in Earliest Horse Car Days 433 

Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford 437 

John Brownlee Voorhees, 1875-1918 437 

Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Twichell, 1838-1918 437 

The Capitol and Bushnell Park, Hartford 441 

The Travelers Insurance Company 445 

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company 449 

Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) 453 

Winter View of Scene of Charles Dudley Warner's first book "My Summer in a 

Garden" 457 

Charles Dudley Warner 457 

Senator Francis Gillette's House, Hartford 461 

Home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Hartford 461 

Residence of George W. Merrow, Hartford 465 

Residence of Samuel Clemens, Hartford 465 

Barn on premises of Lucius F. Robinson, Jr 469 

Residence of Colonel Francis Parsons '. 469 

Residence of Mrs. Willie O. Burr 469 

Hartford Club, Prospect Street, Hartford 473 

Battle Flags and Governor Buckingham Statue in Capitol 473 

Residence of Charles Dudley Warner, Hartford 477 

Music Room in Charles Dudley Warner Residence 477 

Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch 480 

William Gillette 480 

Otis Skinner 485 

Lew Dockstader 485 

Old Railroad Station on Asylum Street 1885 489 

Washington Street, Hartford, in the '90s 489 

Scottish Union and National Insurance Co., Hartford 505 

Col. Albert A. Pope, pioneer bicycle man = 525 

Hiram Percy Maxim and his first completed car, 1898 525 

Old Railroad Roundhouse, Hartford 530 

The Hartford Golf Club, Hartford 539 

One of many walks in the Rose Gardens, Elizabeth Park 539 

Henry Keney 543 

Keney Memorial Tower, Hartford 543 

Entrance to Keney Park, Hartford 551 

The Ancient Cemetery, Hartford 551 

The Town and County (Women's) Club, Hartford 555 

Prospect Street Club Houses, Hartford 555 

Trinity Episcopal Church, Sigourney Street, Hartford 559 

Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford « 559 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Hartford 563 

St. Francis Hospital, Collins Street Entrance, Hartford 563 

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Hartford 567 

Church of the Sacred Heart, Hartford 567 

Shopping District, Hartford, north from "Goodwin's Corner" 583 

Shopping District, Hartford, Main Street, South 583 

Main Room of Office force of Connecticut Mutual Life in the '90s 589 

Sky Line from the River, Hartford : 589 

Residence of Dr. George C. F. Williams, Hartford 595 

Italian Gardens of Dr. George C. F. Williams 595 

John C. Parsons ^9 

Parsons Theater, Hartford r 599 

First Infantry, Connecticut National Guard, Leaving Hartford to muster in as 

First C. V. I., for Spanish-American War 603 


Colonel Charles L. Burdett 607 

Brigadier-General Edward Schulze 611 

Brigadier-General George M. Cole , 615 

Unveiling Spanish-American War Memorial, 1927 615 

Two 20,000 Kilowatt Engines in South Meadows Plant of Hartford Electric 

Light Co. 623 

New South Meadows Station of Hartford Electric Light Co 623 

James G. Batterson 633 

John M. Taylor, President Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co 633 

Jacob L. Greene, President Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co 633 

Thomas S. Weaver 655 

Hartford Public High School 655 

Dr. Henry Barnard 659 

Birthplace and Home of Dr. Henry Barnard, Hartford 659 

Charles Hopkins Clark, Editor "Courant" 671 

Alfred E. Burr, Founder and Editor Hartford "Times" 671 

John Addison Porter, Editor "Evening Post" 671 

The Beecher Family 677 

George H. Warner 681 

John Hooker, Supreme Court Reporter, and his wife 681 

Henry K. W. Welch 685 

Hartford City Hospital and Almshouse 693 

Largest Stone Arch Bridge in the World, over Connecticut River at Hartford 701 

Hooker Pioneers Crossing river on a raft 705 

The Hooker Pioneer Party— 1908 Celebration 705 

William Gedney Bunce 711 

The University Club, Hartford 711 

Wadsworth Atheneum — Colt Annex — Morgan Memorial, Hartford 719 

J. Pierpont Morgan 723 

The Colt Library in the Colt addition to the Wadsworth Atheneum 723 

The Raising of Lazarus, by Benjamin West 727 

Tapestry Hall, Morgan Memorial, Hartford 727 

Exhibition Hall, Connecticut Historical Society 731 

Supreme Court, State Library and Memorial Hall Building, Facing the Capitol 

on Capitol Avenue, Hartford 731 

Reading Room, State Library, Hartford 735 

George S. Godard, State Librarian 739 

Municipal Building, Hartford 739 

Y. W. C. A. Main Building, Ann and Church Streets, Hartford 743 

Y. M. C. A. Building, Pearl and Trinity Streets, Hartford - 743 

Entrance to Hartford by Rail from the South 747 

Mount Sinai Hospital, Hartford 751 

The Main Dam of the Reservoir System, at Nepaug - 755 

Hartford Chamber of Commerce 755 

Samuel O. Prentice 763 

Flavel S. Luther 763 

The Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, Hartford 773 

Hartford-Aetna Realty Corporation Building 777 

Orient Fire Insurance Company, Hartford 781 

The Rossia Insurance Company of America, Hartford__ 781 

Major George J. Rau J93 

Locke, Captain Arthur F. 797 

Red Cross Parade, Hartford, May 18, 1918 

Return of Hartford County Troops, A. E. P., April 30, 1919^_ 807 

Presentation of War Colors to the State, April 30, 1919 

Presentation of War Colors at South Side of Capitol - 811 

Major-General Lucien F. Burpee and Staff, C. S. G., at Armory__ 815 

Rev. Ernest de F. Miel, Rector Trinity Episcopal Church 823 

The Morgan G. Bulkeley High School. Hartford 

The Thomas Snell Weaver High School, Hartford 

Suffield School, Suffield 

Founders' Hall and Head Master's Garden, Loomis Institute 

Sarah Porter, founder of Miss Porter's School 843 


Miss Porter's School, P'armington 843 

Courtyard, Campus and Infirmary, Westminster School 847 

Oxford School, Prospect Avenue, Hartford 847 

Avon, Old Farms, Avon 851 

Kingswood School, West Hartford 855 

Mount St. Joseph Academy, Hartford 855 

Heart of Manufacturing District, Hartford 861 

First Trip of Commercial Passenger-Carrying plane 869 

First Mail Car, July 1, 1926, Brainard Field 869 

Brainard Field, on the Connecticut River 875 

Main Street, looking Northwesterly, Hartford 877 

United States Branch of Caledonian Insurance Co. of Scotland, Hartford 883 

Phoenix National and State Banks (merged) ._ 887 

Hartford National Bank and Trust Co., Hartford 887 

The City Bank & Trust Company, Hartford 891 

Riverside Trust Company, Pearl Street, Hartford 891 

Bankers' Trust Company, Farmington Ave., Hartford 891 

The Emanuel Synagogue, Hartford 897 

Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Hartford 897 

In the Flood of 1927 903 

The Flood of November, 1927 903 

Willie O. Burr, 1843-1921 1 907 

Frederick C. Penfield 911 

Hartford County Building, 1929 921 

Bushnell Memorial, Hartford 921 

A. Everett Austin, Jr 927 

Map of Hartford County, 1927 935 

Palisado Green, Windsor 939 

Dr. Henry R. Stiles _' 943 

Lieutenant Walter Fyler Homestead, Windsor, 1640 947 

Ellsworth House, Windsor 947 

Oldest Tombstone in Connecticut . 951 

Henry Wolcott Tombstone, Windsor 951 

General Roger Newberry 955 

John Fitch, 1675 959 

John Fitch High School, Windsor 959 

First Congregational Church, Windsor 967 

E. Rowland Sill's Home, Windsor 967 

The Old Meeting-House, South Windsor 975 

The Old Wolcott Homestead, South Windsor 975 

Old Grant Mansion, East Windsor 985 

Enfield Ridge > . 1005 

Capt. Jonathan Sheldon House, West Suffield, 1926 1015 

Kent Memorial Library, Suffield 1015 

Suffield's Quarter Millenial, 1920 1019 

Typical Tobacco Plantation 1039 

The Phelps Mansion, Simsbury 1042 

Home of Senator Geo. P. McLean, Simsbury ' 1044 

Senator George P. McLean at his home, Simsbury 1044 

Sweet Farmhouse, hotel and store, Granby, 1875 1047 

Edward H. Sears 1057 

Sarah Whitman Hooker house, West Hartford 1063 

Congregational Church, West Hartford 1063 

William H. Hall 1067 

William H. Hall High School, West Hartford____ 1067 

Noah Webster 1071 

Noah Webster's Birthplace, West Hartford 1071 

Town Hall and Noah Webster Library, West Hartford 1075 

The West Hartford Trust Co., West Hartford 1079 

Center, West Hartford 1079 

The Whitman House, Farmington 1083 

Congregational Church, Farmington 1087 

Farmington Village Library 1087 


General Cowles House, Farmington 1091 

The Admiral Cowles House, "Old Gate," Farmington 1091 

Original Tower on Talcott Mountain 1105 

Office of American Hardware Company, New Britain 1123 

Main Street, New Britain, north '_ 1123 

New Britain's World War Memorial .1129 

Memorial to Soldiers and Sailors, New Britain 1129 

Commercial Trust Company, New Britain 1133 

Post Office, New Britain __1133 

State Normal School, New Britain 1137 

Rev. Lucyan Bojnowski 1141 

Vocational High School, New Britain 1141 

The "Triangle," New Britain 1147 

Soldiers' Monument, New Britain 1147 

John B. Talcott ___1151 

Library of the New Britain Institute, New Britain 1151 

Elihu Burritt 1157 

Elihu Burritt Monument, Franklin Square Park, New Britain 1157 

The John Cooke House, Plainville 1177 

The John Hamblin House, Plainville 1177 

Deacon Roderick Stanley 1181 

Plainville in the '60s 1181 

The Ellen French School, Plainville, 1863 1185 

Residence of Gov. John H. Trumbull, Plainville 1189 

Governor Trumbull's trophy and Equipment room 1189 

Plainville, from Sunset Rock, 1928 1195 

Southington Congregational Church 1205 

Southington Public Library 1205 

Southington Center in the 1830s and 1840s 1211 

Bristol National Bank, Bristol, 1927 1221 

Bristol Trust Company, Bristol 1221 

World War Memorial and High School, Bristol 1225 

Rockwell Park, Bristol 1225 

Corner of Main and North Main Streets, Bristol, 1895 1229 

St. Joseph's Church, Bristol 1233 

Congregational Church, Federal Hill, Bristol 1233 

The Brown Inn, Burlington 1241 

"The Old Leather Man" 1245 

Sites of Homes of Some Early East Hartford Settlers 1251 

St. John's Church, East Hartford 1257 

Center District School, Main Street, East Hartford 1257 

The Cheney Homestead, South Manchester 1281 

South Manchester High School 1281 

The Pines, Manchester (Wickham Residence) 1285 

Congregational Church, Wethersfield 1301 

The "Leonard Chester" Table-Stone, with inscription 1301 

Wethersfield, 1640 1305 

Rev. Elisha Williams 1313 

Rev. George L. Clark 1313 

The Michael Griswold House in Back Lane, Wethersfield 1321 

Academy Hall, Wethersfield 1321 

Main Street, Wethersfield 1327 

Largest Elm in the U. S., near Wethersfield Common 1327 

First Church of Christ, Glastonbury 1341 

Glastonbury's Civic Center 1341 

World War Memorial, Glastonbury 1349 






On the eve of the tri-centennial of the birth of American 
democracy there is a demand, now world-wide, for its story. 
What were the circumstances, what the antecedents and causes, 
what the kind of people whose minds conceived this 
remarkable document of free government? These are some of 
the questions from afar and from those newly come to make 
their homes under this government. Patient research of more 
than a century, in ancient chests and musty archives, in docu- 
ments and books, continuing up to the present generation, has 
supplied the material for answer. Each consequential item has 
been found, each knotty problem has been solved, and all have 
been tested by experts, till now at this anniversary it remains 
to bring the very last of them into one account, simple in char- 
acter but retaining that dramatic and often romantic touch 
which simplicity alone can give. For him who would trace the 
research, a bibliography accompanies this writing. 

Hartford County has fame in other ways, has other claims as 
a favored locality, other joys in being a unit in a greater democ- 
racy, and moves onward with new ambitions, but it is for this 
distinction in the eyes of the nations, especially since the treaty 
of Versailles, that it first must meet inquiry. The little group 
of settlers adopting their "Fundamental Orders," or Constitu- 


3— VOL. 1 


tion, has been taken as marking the real beginning of the move- 
ment by and for the people. An English lord had drafted a 
form of government for the Carolinas, based upon advanced 
principles but adhering to class distinctions; the Virginians with 
their House of Burgesses in 1619 and constitution in 1621 had 
aimed at government by representation but under, by and with 
royal consent through a governor appointed by the Crown; the 
Pilgrims in the Mayflower had agreed upon rules for and by 
themselves, under royalty, and Massachusetts Bay had a church- 
limited method. All denoted progress — progress toward final 
free government; hence we should trace the steps back further, 
though not, herein, to the sophistries of Plato or the failure in 
Rome. The gropings must have begun with civilization. 

In England — coming on after King John and the Magna 
Charta — when Henry VIII changed one form of "established" 
religion for another with himself the calculating head of it, when 
sovereigns followed who did not have appreciation of the Anglo- 
Saxon spirit of liberty, schisms were begotten. Through subse- 
quent reigns, the old spark, fanned by Calvin in the brief days of 
Edward VI the one Puritan King, was kept down by blows, 
prison and banishment, but it was not quenched. The English 
translation of the Bible appeared in James' time, as an instru- 
ment of hierarchy — in reality as food and strength for the 
oppressed. And through this seventeenth century, it must be 
kept in mind, the Bible was like the "latest book" among people 
who had but few at best. Charles I took a long step farther in 
tyranny than had the vain and headstrong James. In him the 
warm, southern Guise blood drove out the faintest conception 
of the ideals of old England. Laud, a fit tool at hand, was made 
primate so that the King might better strain away from free- 
dom in religion to the kind of Catholicism he had in mind. The 
kind, inasmuch as it was a cloak to power, was as repugnant to 
those of Romish faith as it was to the Protestants, now gaining 
their distinctive name. It became the lot of Puritans and Pil- 
grims, under test of fire, to develop the saving grace for the 
people. They were not always unfortunate. 

Cabot in 1498 had espied the shores of New England. Under 
the European rule set by the Church of Rome when there were 
vast areas untrodden by white men, the land thereafter belonged 
to England to utilize. In the days of abundance of land, it was 


neglected till there was at least similitude of need, and the King 
would extend his domains before it was too late. The richest 
but never suspected fruit of this materialistic revival of inter- 
est in America was to be the furnishing of a place of refuge 
for the oppressed. James' first grant, in 1606, was to the mer- 
cantile corporations of London and the "West" of England, and 
his others, in 1609 and 1612, yielded thrilling experience in 
Virginia. Then, in 1628, at odds with the London company, he 
turned to the lords and gentlemen of Plymouth ("West" com- 
pany) and as a stronger barrier against the French of the north 
granted its representatives, forty of the wealthiest nobles who 
were to be known as the Council of Plymouth, a charter for the 
whole territory between the fortieth and the forty-eighth par- 
allels, with unlimited power of legislating, for the "governing" 
of New England. Finally, and also through providence or by 
unwitting act of human progress, a charter from the Plymouth 
company, confirmed by King Charles almost at the moment he 
was abolishing his Parliament, gave Massachusetts Bay Colony 
its momentous rights. 

Puritans and Separatists had suffered much. The Puritans 
were not opposed to the Established Church itself and hoped to 
work reforms within, in accord with their strict tenets. The 
Separatists, who were in the minority, sought freedom of thought 
and of form of worship and could find it only in secret assem- 
blages outside the church circles. To many of them, like the 
Pilgrims who came to New England, the name Separatists was 
obnoxious. In argument against it for those at Plymouth and 
Salem, Edward Winslow in England declared that they were not 
for separation but simply could not approve corruption or a 
communion of worthy and unworthy; the primitive churches 
were the "only pattern." There was special desire to avoid 
suspicion of "Browneism," the worst kind of separatism in the 
eyes of the royal court. Robert Browne, with his secret meet- 
ings, had been a particular thorn in the flesh. Pastor John 
Robinson had warned the Pilgrims against the name, which he 
considered a brand to make religion odious to the Christians. 

The thought that Plymouth people had not heeded his warn- 
ing is by many supposed to have been the reason why relations 
between Massachusetts and Plymouth were not more cordial 
from the beginning. The Winthrop party, when starting for 


America, took pains to broadcast their request — to the "gover- 
nor and company" and the rest of their "brethren in and of the 
Church of England" — for prayers and the "removal of suspicions 
and misconstructions of their intentions," and declared: "We 
esteem it our honour to call the Church of England, from whence 
we rise, our deare mother. * * * We leave it not, therefore, as 
loathing the milk wherewith we were nourished there." Infer- 
ence is fairly supported that there was little practical difference 
of sentiment between Puritans and Pilgrims in America. Both 
were Congregational, but in England, the members of the first 
Congregational Church in history, the Southwark in London, 
were imprisoned after their secrecy had been penetrated in 1632. 
The Puritans were cautious. Even so, Sir Richard Saltonstall 
with other leaders had to appear before the council to clear him- 
self of suspicion, and earnest entreaties to be careful were sent 
over to the Bay. 

This brings us close to those who were to locate at Windsor, 
the northern of the "Constitution towns," in 1633. These Pil- 
grim fugitives to Holland, after the war with Spain had ceased, 
were of humble antecedents, few having the culture of Pastor 
Robinson or of Elder William Brewster who, withal, had retained 
friendly relations with men of good station at home and is the 
ancestor of several Hartford County families. To them, what- 
ever the issues, the Reformation, the break with the Holy See, 
had more religious meaning than it had with King Henry. They 
relished a king as supreme head of a church no more than they 
would have relished a pope. In Leyden they were not hounded. 
But when another war cloud appeared on their European 
horizon, they sought safety in far Virginia, to which end Brew- 
ster was able to secure patent rights for them from the London 
(Virginia) company. 

Those who could be accommodated, leaving Pastor Robinson 
behind to assemble still more, sailed in the Mayflower in 1620 
but, by adversity of winds, reached Cape Cod instead of Dela- 
ware Bay. Thus having no rights for organization under their 
Virginia charter, they signed the compact which gave their lead- 
ers formal recognition but, while creating a sub-"body politic," 


MaKiIcans ^JTJ^t^M 

(Copyrighted by Harry A. Wright, Springfield, Massachusetts) 


Drawn by N. Visscher from map of Jasper Danker and used in Van der Donk's "De- 
scription of New Netherlands." 1656. "Versche" (fresh), Connecticut River; "Pisners 
Cleyne Val," Pynchon's Little Falls (Warehouse Point); "Voynser," Windsor (east 
side); "Herfort," Hartford; "Fort de Goede hoop," Dutch Point; "Watertuyn," Water- 
town (Wethersfield's east side); "Weeters Velt," Wethersfield (west side); "Stratfort," 
"Milfort," "Nieuhaven," "Gilfort," along the shore. Names of Indian groups, including 

"Conittekock," in larger print. 


was not a constitution. The English came to America with their 
families to make homes, colonize; the motive of the Dutch was 
commerce with the natives and to exploit resources. But what 
with being compelled to go heavily in debt to buy their charter 
privileges finally, the Pilgrims became not unlike the Dutch in 
their immediate anxiety to acquire something more than sub- 

The Council of New England, newly organized in England, 
looked upon them with favor rather than as trespassers when 
they were unable to push on to Virginia. Governor Bradford 
and Edward Winslow (other ancestors of Hartford County peo- 
ple of today) and ten others were allowed six years' monopoly 
of trade in order that they might get rid of the debt and secure 
newcomers from Leyden. They pushed their trading posts to 
Maine, where the earliest but brief English settlement in Amer- 
ica had been made (at Sagadhoc in 1607), and lent attentive ear 
to the Indian Wahginnacutt who came in 1628 with his descrip- 
tion of Connecticut Valley possibilities. After Winslow himself 
that same year had verified the Indian's statements, he and Brad- 
ford proposed to Governor Winthrop of the Bay colony that they 
follow up. Winthrop, with no such pressure of debt upon his 
colonists, was not convinced about a land "all champaign but 
very stony and full of Indians." But in 1631 individual traders 
had had success in that region, going by boat, and in 1633 John 
Oldham, against whom the New England Council had warned 
them as a turbulent character, with three others treked through 
the forests. If the authorities themselves would gain prece- 
dence there must be no delay. (Thus early was it Plymouth's 
ambition to have Windsor antedate Wethersfield, creating an 
issue never yet settled to the satisfaction of all). 

Moreover, the Dutch outposts were creeping up. The men 
from New Amsterdam frankly had told the Pilgrims that there 
was good prospect in this quarter and they themselves had 
started a trading post at present Hartford in 1623, under direc- 
tion of Jacob Van Corlear. They held claim to Long Island, 
whence came the choicest wampum. A dove of peace bore to 
Plymouth a letter of faith and of invocation of old friendship 
which Bradford accepted as "testimony of love" but with firm 
reminder of territory covered by English patent. The Dutch 
replied that the authorization to the Dutch West India Trading 


Company was from the States General and they would defend 
it, after which they sent a messenger of high station, with mili- 
tary splendor. De Rassieres was received "with the noise of 
trumpets" and returned home to New Amsterdam, incidentally 
with a written description of Plymouth of much historical value 
and specifically with an agreement for mutual trade. But the 
warning that the Dutch should "clear their title" and the Dutch 
response that the English should allow time for the home gov- 
ernments to confer were followed by signs of aggression on both 
sides and by request from the Dutch that their home govern- 
ment send over forty soldiers for defense. Governor Van Twiller 
quoted Holland's rights by Hudson's discoveries in 1609 and 
Admiral Block's voyage of exploration up the Connecticut in 
1614; the English stood for Cabot's voyage in 1498 and for the 
royal grants in 1606. The Dutch bought land at Saybrook in 
1 632, set up the standard of the States General and in June, 1633, 
bought twenty acres around their post at the House of Hope, 
present Hartford. 

Ere long the good and ever active ship Blessing, from Win- 
throp of Massachusetts, had sailed into New Amsterdam har- 
bor, its commander had shown Van Twiller his colony's author- 
ity from the King, the Dutch standard at Saybrook had been 
replaced by a mocking fool's emblem, and Lieut. William Holmes 
of Plymouth had sailed defiantly by the hurriedly constructed 
"fort" with two guns at the House of Hope (Connecticut's first 
fortification) to set up on September 26, 1633, Connecticut's first 
frame house at Matianuck or present Windsor, he having 
brought the frame of the house in his boat. Considering the 
times, these events were as rapid as those in Europe in August, 

And other incidents leading up to the situation in 1633 must 
be kept in mind. In Indian councils the advent of a new class 
of traders had been under discussion. The Dutch were not the 
favorites if for no other reason than that they had recognized 
the obstreperous and usurping Pequot tribe from near present 
New London. The results of this will be considered after more 
formally introducing the new and powerful factor in Hartford 
County and in all American history — the Massachusetts Bay 

The Plymouth Council of New England was inefficient in 

Nieuw JNedcrlaiult . 


This the menace to the Constitution settlements. The picture (Hudson River in the 
foreground) is copied from an ancient engraving made in Holland. The fort was 
erected in 1623 and was finished by Governor Van Twiller in accord with this drawing 

in 1635. 


America and unpopular in England, destined to have a stormy 
and brief career. Roger Conant, agent of the New England 
Plymouth, remained firm in the purpose to make a home at the 
Bay for religious exiles and selected Salem as the place. A 
revival of interest in the west of England in 1627 resulted in 
earnest cooperation by men of influence; the Earl of Warwick, 
member of the council, secured the assent of Ferdinando Gorges, 
governor general of New England and founder of the council, 
and on March 19, 1628, the council granted a charter, a body 
politic, for the "governor and company of the Massachusetts 
Bay." The grantees included Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young 
and John Endicott (governor) ; they added to their number Sir 
Richard Saltonstall, Theophilus Eaton, William Pynchon and 
others. Years later King Charles declared "the principle and 
foundation of the charter was freedom of liberty of conscience." 
That was true and it was because he denied it to them in England 
that lovers of freedom, of high or low degree, of the Puritan 
party or not, fled by hundreds to the new country. That such 
a grant was affirmed is indicative of the power of those now 
arousing for the coming war in the cause of liberty. It was a 
victory which opened the way to the drafting of Connecticut's 

July 20, 1629, the ballot was used for the first time in America. 
The day had been set apart by Endicott "for the choice of a pas- 
tor and a teacher at Salem." Samuel Skelton and Francis Hig- 
ginson were elected and "the gravest members of the church" 
laid hands on them so that they came in by act of the congre- 
gation and not by clerical authority. The two leaders of certain 
Episcopal dissenters found in the town, prominent and learned 
men who would maintain a separate organization, were sent 
back to England, charged with being "factious and evil-condi- 
tioned." The argument was that people who had come to escape 
church conformity could not have conformity practiced in their 

When the General Court voted to transfer the government 
of the "plantations" from London to the Bay, John Winthrop and 
his associates came over and the mother company was reorgan- 
ized as a commercial corporation. Winthrop kept up the cour- 
age. He was royalist to the core and against democracy, but a 
devotee of liberty while desiring that the "least part" — "the 


wiser of the best" — should govern. The "general rumor of this 
solemn enterprise" moved all England deeply. 

But it was the Dorchester ship, the first of the fleet and the 
one of most interest in this history, that arrived ahead of the 
Winthrop party's, bearing the first fully organized church. It 
had sailed from Plymouth March 20, 1630, and on May 30 reached 
not Salem but Nantasket, where the shipmaster landed the 140 
people because he had no pilot. Later they made their way to 
Matapan, renamed Dorchester. Rev. John White of Dorchester, 
England, an eminent divine remaining in the established church, 
had been instrumental in assembling them from the western 
part of England and in privately forming their church on the eve 
of their departure. For their spiritual leaders, Rev. John Mav- 
erick and Rev. John Warham were selected. Mr. Maverick was 
a graduate of Exeter College and a clergyman in the established 
church with his home about forty miles from Exeter. Mr. War- 
ham was the ordained, youthful and very popular minister of a 
church in Exeter. He was a graduate of Oxford. 

Dr. Bray Rosseter and Roger Ludlow were sent as direc- 
tors by the main company, chosen by the stockholders in London. 
Ludlow gave promise of being, and long was, one of the foremost 
of all the immigrants. Born in Dinton, Baycliffe, Wiltshire, in 
1590, and having won honors in Balliol College, Oxford, he was 
preeminent as a lawyer and a scholar. As compared with New 
England and its possibilities, uncertain England was not a place 
for a man of his ambitious, restless nature. He hated sycophancy 
and demanded the right of free thought. Also in the party were 
three men of military experience, Capt. John Mason, Capt. Rich- 
ard Southcote and Quartermaster John Smith, who had fought 
under De Vere in the Palitinate war. 

The Winthrop party arrived at Salem June 12 to find famine 
and disease that chilled their hearts. The groups sought new 
places for themselves. Saltonstall and others chose Watertown, 
Pynchon and a few began Roxbury and Winthrop favored first 
Charlestown and then Boston, the third of the communities named 
as towns along with Dorchester on September 7. The nucleus of 
each town was what would now be called a church society and 
they soon had a selectman system. 

With this summary of the purposes and characteristics of the 
Plymouth and Massachusetts colonists coming to America, with 

Statue at Capitol 


this tracing of the revolt against tyranny in the land of the Magna 
Charta, and with the introduction of early leaders in the Con- 
necticut River colonization — Ludlow, Warham, Oldham, Mason, 
and Pynchon, — there can be better appreciation of the circum- 
stances and the conditions which confronted the other leaders 
when they landed. Interest for the present centers in three of 
them who came in the Griffin September 3, 1633. They were John 
Haynes, Rev. Thomas Hooker and Rev. John Cotton. Haynes 
was sacrificing large estates in Hertfordshire and Essex. His 
son in later years wrote that he "nearly ruined his family" by 
having in all £8,000 sent him during his twenty years here and 
£1,000 of his second wife's estate, "so that the children by his 
first wife suffered exceedingly." He was of a "heavenly" mind, 
"dear to the people by his benevolent virtues and his disinterested 
conduct." Cotton, a Cambridge man, was persuasive and genial 
rather than commanding and shunned democracy because he 
feared the animal instincts of the mass while claiming "the ulti- 
mate resolution for the whole body of the people." He went to 
the Boston church, though not exactly according to his prefer- 

Thomas Hooker was the type of the harried but sturdy young 
minister, and more. He was born in Marfield, county of Leices- 
ter, in 1586, of family of fair estate. An able scholar at Cam- 
bridge, he taught for a time, or until he obtained a living in the 
manor of Francis Drake, nephew of the circumnavigator, for 
which office he did not have to qualify according to the rules of 
the church since the position was donative, in the interests of 
Mrs. Drake, an invalid. The manor was at Escher, in Surrey. 
Mr. Hooker lived in the family, forming friendships that later 
stood him in good stead. He married Mrs. Drake's companion, 
a woman of education and refinement. His acceptance of a lec- 
tureship in connection with the church of St. Mary at Chelmsford 
was displeasing to those subservient to Laud since it implied 
friendliness with the people, and Laud, transferred to the see of 
London in 1628, was becoming more brutal. Mr. Hooker was 
ordered to appear before the Court of High Commissioners, un- 
der bond of £50, July 15, 1630. For one so guilty, the penalty 
might be imprisonment, torture, slitting of the nostrils or some 
other cruel indignity. 

His bond being paid by friends and his family looked after 


by the Earl of Warwick, he secretly boarded a boat for Holland, 
barely eluding Laud's men. He did not accept position in the 
British Presbyterian Church till he had removed from Amster- 
dam to Delft where he became associate of Pastor John Forbes. 
Upon the pastor's being removed by request of the British gov- 
ernment, Mr. Hooker continued at Delft two years and then ac- 
cepted pastoral duties in Rotterdam with Rev. Hugh Peters, 
later prominent in the colonies, and Rev. William Ames. Mean- 
time the American project was a matter of careful considera- 
tion. The reorganization of the company for colonists together 
with the increasing fury of Laud and his King was deciding the 
course of many who had been hesitating. Hooker was a con- 
spicuous figure. One suggestion was to have him and Cotton go 
together with a group from Essex to settle near Boston, but 
inasmuch as better results might be obtained by separating the 
two leaders, this plan was changed. The "Braintree Company" 
was known as the "Hooker Company" because of its devotion to 
him with whose teaching they were familiar. Hooker was dem- 
ocratic and likewise tolerant. He says in a letter, "I would do 
the devil no wrong though he never did me good." 

This group went out from England in August, 1632, expect- 
ing Hooker to join them with Rev. Samuel Stone of Hertford 
County, a Cambridge graduate and a lecturer, as teacher. Not 
long after the party had sailed, Hooker crossed over to England 
to join Eaton, and Cotton with him. There, finding that Laud's 
men had detected their presence, all three went secretly aboard 
the Griffin and after an eight weeks' voyage reached their des- 
tination September 4, 1633. Among those to greet them was 
William Goodwin, who had arrived September 16, 1632, and had 
been in charge of the advance Hooker party as elder. The Brain- 
tree Company was transferred from Mount Wollaston to New- 
town (now Cambridge) where Hooker and Stone were inducted 
into their offices as pastor and teacher October 11, 1633. 

Meantime, Plymouth, Hartford County's first connecting link 
with the mother country, was adjusting itself more or less to 
irritating conditions of parent-corporation ambition to get on 
financially. The remainder of the church members were brought 
over, but by 1630 there still were not more than 300 in the colony. 
Their governor continued to be elective, restricted by a* council 
of assistants; the body of freemen, being the legislature, held 


(Photcgiaphed by Dudley from mural painting by Alfred Hertet in Supreme Court Chamber, Hartford) 




veto power, till by 1639 (Connecticut's Constitution year) popu- 
lation had increased to an extent to necessitate representation 
by chosen "committees." They had to be self-reliant for they 
had no friends at court and never had royalty confirmed their 
charter; they had to agree among themselves in all governmental 
matters if enforcement were to be assured ; they were approach- 
ing the democratic ideal in something of a tribal fashion. People 
of different religious views, they did not welcome nor yet did they 
persecute. The prophecy by friends in England in hour of great- 
est stress was to be fulfilled : "Let it not be grievous to you that 
you have been the instruments to break the ice for others. The 
honor shall be yours to the world's end." 


First house in the colony beneath the X 




Thus had begun the movement from England toward the 
Connecticut River. While the second step was being considered, 
while new aspirations for freedom of thought were being nour- 
ished, is the time to look upon the new territory to which they 
were to go and the people who were living there. The sachem 
Wahginnacutt had told of the fertility of the valley; he could not 
tell of the intensely interesting geological history. Between the 
early-formed hills of western and eastern Connecticut lay a de- 
pression from the Massachusetts northern line to Long Island 
Sound, beautiful in its variety and marked with broken forma- 
tions of a date much earlier than that of the higher lands. When 
this depression had been an arm of the sea, streams from the hills 
had left a deposit of mud. Some volcano poured its lava over the 
whole area. Upon this another mass of mud accumulated, an- 
other and heavier flow of lava came, and thus a third time, form- 
ing layers of shale, sandstone and conglomerate between lava, 
while near Mount Lamention at Meriden was left buried under 
lava a great bed of volcanic ashes and of molten rock poured 
from the volcano. 

Then occurred tremendous upheavals; the layers of lava and 
of the mud in which man was to find evidences of the animal life 
of the prehistoric period, were tilted upward and were broken at 
points along the length of the original depression, forming the 
hills which were to make the eastern and western borders of the 
Connecticut Valley. The second volcanic eruption formed a sheet 
of lava 500 feet thick in places, the edges of which, when the up- 
heaval tilted them, made the Talcott Range, Cedar Mountain, 
Hanging Hills at Meriden and the other hills dowm to the shore. 




One of the best evidences of nature's powerful performances 
in those remote ages is at the very doors of Trinity College — the 
"Summit," now preserved as a park ground. Old-time quarrying 
of trap rock (lava) for city streets revealed strata, showing the 
deep-down layers of mud and then the thick upper crust of lava, 
with plain exhibit of the effect of the intense heat from the lava. 
On the surface can be seen the scratches made by the glaciers 
which thousands of years after the volcanic era wore down the 
rock formation and left deposits of sand and stone. 

In Manchester in particular (Buckland quarries), wonderful 
remains of the saurians of the Triassic Age have been found, the 
first of them by Maj. Charles H. Owen in 1884, after a part of a 
valuable specimen had been built into the foundations of a build- 
ing. In Farmington, in more recent years, on the land of A. A. 
Pope, a fine skeleton of a mastodon was unearthed. Footprints 
of the monsters of millions of years ago have been removed to 
museums from the sandstone below Glastonbury. 

The earth convulsions changed the courses of the streams 
that had flowed into the disappearing arm of the sea. The Con- 
necticut kept on toward the Sound but, checked by the upheavals 
at Wethersfield and Berlin, was compelled to cut its way toward 
the southeast through the hills at the Narrows and find its new 
course along the steep bluffs below Middletown. The Farming- 
ton, which probably always had flowed from the northwest, was 
driven by the Talcott Range and the rising land near Bristol to 
run northerly sixteen miles before it could find its way through 
the range to the easterly slope, as can be seen on the county map. 
By miles it is one of the longest as it is one of the most pictur- 
esque streams in New England, but the direct line from its source 
in Massachusetts to its mouth at Windsor is not much over thirty 
miles, while within the state there are nearly sixty miles of it, or 
more than the entire width of the state. 

On the east of the Connecticut the Scantic rises in Somers, 
winds up into Massachusetts, then back through Somersville, En- 
field, East Windsor and South Windsor and thence into the Con- 
necticut, a total length of about twenty-three miles. The Hock- 
anum is fed by Shenipsit ("Snipsic") Lake in Ellington, Tolland 
and Rockville, comes away westerly and southerly through Ver- 
non, veers off into South Windsor, dips down into Manchester 
and makes westerly into the Connecticut at East Hartford near 


Silver Lane — a distance of eighteen miles. Between this and the 
Scantic is the Podunk, in East and South Windsor. 

As will be seen by the map from "Barber's Collections," the 
Connecticut ever has been a river of vagaries. The map shows 
how it has changed contours in Wethersfield and Naubuc (Glas- 
tonbury) since colonial days, forming Wethersfield Cove, obliter- 
ating Wright's Island, shifting meadow lands. The whole river 
body moved eastward as far as the point where it formerly had 
reached its most northeasterly course, north of the Wethersfield 
town line, which means north of the mouth of Pewter Pot Brook 
on the Glastonbury side. Then, had it not been for the under- 
lying shale it would have cut through the present village of 
Wethersfield. Hartford got an addition to its South Meadows, 
including a knoll which had been Pennywise Island in the old 
channel; the promontory at the elbow when the old channel 
turned northeasterly included the new basin Wethersfield Cove. 

In modern times the vagaries have been the source of liti- 
gation. The law of natural accretion, by which gradual action 
of the river gives permanent possession to the soil deposited was 
maintained by the Supreme Court in 1887 when the Thaddeus 
Welles estate in Glastonbury failed in a suit to establish right 
to land washed to the Wethersfield side of the river. It so hap- 
pened, however, that in the course of a few more years, a little 
further down the stream, soil worth $100 an acre had been 
washed from the Wethersfield side for a total of about eighteen 
acres to the Glastonbury side and in such way as to increase by 
that much the southerly part of the property of this same Welles 
estate. A Wethersfield man who tried to recover value of part 
of this failed, though in lower court he had nine of the jury with 
him. By riprapping and dredging, the Government has consid- 
erably checked further changes in that locality. 

But despite such demonstration of the river's powerful wil- 
fulness, the present generation appears little affected by possible 
evidence of a tendency which might even leave the great stone 
bridge at Hartford extending over fairly dry land while the 
river to be bridged would be flowing through the East Hartford 
meadows. The meadow bluff at one time was undoubtedly the 
eastern bank, but between that and the river since the first set- 
tlement much of the land has yielded crops. The low-water mark 
at Hartford is 1.8 feet above that at the Sound, and the tide is 



about one foot. Since the settlement the Hartford shore has 
receded about fifteen feet. On the east side, nearly opposite the 
steamboat dock, was a large island; Dutch Island was just south 
of it. They became a part of the mainland and were built upon, 
but today a once small pool to the east of them has become the 
good-sized Long Pond, south of the large causeway with its now 
single under-pass for flood water. A long island off present 
Riverside Park on the Hartford side joined the mainland, and 
today the water is more shallow there while along the east side, 
above the stone bridge, is a deep channel. On the west side of 
this channel was an island. It was removed at the time the 
bridge was built but soon reformed and now is kept down only 
by constant dredging by steam buckets from the shore as a com- 
mercial enterprise. 

At the South Windsor shore, the river is giving its most pro- 
nounced evidence of its proclivity. Within a few years a fine 
broad beach, a mile long, enjoyed for recreation purposes, has 
appeared where the water once flowed. But south of this and 
down to the railroad bridge, the east bank has been cut back 
considerably over a hundred feet in the last decade; good farm 
land and the road thereto, together with trees, have disappeared ; 
Clay Point, a strong promontory, is no more; a deep, swift pool 
grows larger while a sand bank forms at the opposite shore ; the 
land along the meadow bank is lower, and thus Olmstead's Brook 
has been diverted till it makes a marsh extending to Long Pond 
south of the bridge causeway. Especially in the 1927 fall flood, 
it looked plainly as though the river were seeking a channel from 
above the railroad bridge straight south, cutting out the present 
Hartford bow. What the river in flood time can do along its 
present banks will be shown in the latter part of this history. 

At the actual mouth of the river, where silt finds lodgement, 
little more has been done than to keep the west channel clear, 
abandoning the east channel which was the main channel in 
Revolutionary days. 

The Sequin Indians in the river valley were a comparatively 
modern out-cropping of the bands that had pushed along from 
perhaps Bering Strait, following the lake line. Sowheag was 
chief of the group in this immediate section and Sequassen was 


his son. That there was no great chieftain as in other sections of 
New England may be taken as evidence that the Sequins were of 
a mild and complacent sort. Like most Connecticut natives they 
paid some tribute to the warlike Mohawks of northern New York ; 
they were on good terms with the Rhode Island Narragansetts but 
they were in awe of the Pequots at New London, the latest comers 
into southern New England. Apparently the Pequots had not 
conquered them in strife; they simply had usurped authority 
over lands, and yet not to an extent to demand tribute, possibly 
through fear of clashing with the Mohawks. Clearly it was with 
such conception as this that the Englishmen, from time imme- 
morial precise about land titles, made their purchases of those 
who were the real possessors; the Dutch on the other hand mak- 
ing them of those they thought were more powerful. The groups 
of Sequins — and the settlers designated their sections by the 
names of the groups — were: Matianuck (Windsor), Sachem 
Natawanute whom Holmes had brought along with him in his 
boat and had reestablished, let the Pequots say what they would; 
Suckiaug (Hartford), Sachem Sequassen; Pyquaug (Wethers- 
field), Chief Sowheag, and across the river the Wongunks, the 
Podunks (South Windsor and East Hartford), with a "fort" near 
the Podunk river for the summer and another on the Hockanum 
for the winter; and the Tunxis (Farmington), a branch of the 
Suckiaugs. The summer village of the Suckiaugs was where 
Village Street Green now is and they planted the land along the 
river from there south, the only open space. North Meadow 
Creek, until recent times quite a stream, furnished shelter for 
their canoes. Before the arrival of the Dutch doubtless the 
mouth of Little River had been a favorite place. Their chief 
hunting grounds were along that stream and in Farmington. 
Their only known story will weave in with that of the English- 

The same may be said of the Dutch. At the present juncture, 
preceding the arrival of the actual settlers, they and the Sucki- 
augs were having nothing to do with each other; the Dutch had 
reported Holmes' audacity to New Amsterdam; forty soldiers, 
with trumpets and guns had been sent up overland, had seen 
Holmes' stockade and had marched back to report that the posi- 
tion was too strong to take without much bloodshed. Thereupon 
traders had been sent farther up river to cut off the Englishmen's 
business, only to find the Indians decimated by the periodical 


plague of smallpox; the Dutchmen, themselves falling victims, 
worked their way back to Windsor where they were nursed till 
able to complete their journey to the House of Hope. This sig- 
nificantly named post was made partly of brick brought from 
Holland (specimens of which are now with the Connecticut His- 
torical Society) on the south bank of Little River some rods back 
from the Connecticut, where the bend in the tributary made good 
harborage. Had the guns aimed at Holmes been fired when he 
sailed by, the balls would have had to sweep across the sandy 
promontory on the north side of the creek, ever since known as 
Dutch Point, much wider then than now. Around the house was 
a palisade where fifty people could find refuge. Attempt was 
made to raise hay and vegetables in the soil just outside of it. 
For his land Van Corlear alleged that he paid "one piece of duf- 
fels, 27 ells long; six axes, six kettles, 18 knives, 1 sword blade, 
1 shears and some toys" to "Tattoepan, chief of Sirkenames 
River" (which was the name for Mystic River near New Lon- 
don) "and owner of Connecticut." The papers of this first Hart- 
ford real estate transaction never were producible in the long 
international arguments of later years, but the statement suffices 
to show the custom of the time, the value set upon the property 
and the fact that the Dutch did not search titles so thoroughly 
as did the English. 

In these days when the movement from the Bay Colony was 
fast taking shape and scouts were looking over the "promised 
land," Jonathan Brewster, son of Elder William, was made resi- 
dent agent at Windsor for the Plymouth Company. In 1635 he 
was reporting that "Massachusetts men" were coming almost 
daily and casting covetous eyes on the additional land that had 
been bought north of the Tunxis River. The tone of the letter 
indicated that he had thought nothing of the earlier visits of 
prospectors who doubtless had included the wandering Oldham 
in 1633 when with his three companions he went on to Wethers- 
field and tested the goodly soil, nor of the visit of men bearing a 
letter from Pynchon who went north and selected Agawam, nor 
yet of a few who had gone down near the House of Hope and 
fixed upon Suckiaug (Hartford) ; but the 1635 strain upon his 
hospitality had caused him to break forth in protest. He cried 


out that he did not know who might not come next. Right here 
is a bit of evidence that the Plymouth Company contemplated a 
genuine settlement and not a mere trading post as has been as- 
serted in the arguments over priority of founding, for he wrote 
that this Windsor land might become a "great towne and have 
commodious dwellings for many years together." 

Those whose conduct provoked the letter were in reality rep- 
resentatives of the foresighted Ludlow of Dorchester — twelve of 
them who tarried nine long days, not "consulting" Brewster but 
using his freely proffered guides and boats and partaking of his 
limited supplies. He took them to interview the Dutch on a loca- 
tion but the Dutch "did peremptorily withstand them." As later 
appeared, the Dorchester men, seeing that these meadows north 
of the Tunxis were not being occupied, felt that they must still 
be in the open market, and when the hegira from the Bay became 
irresistible arranged in 1637 terms of purchase; still later the 
Plymouth pioneers (1638) sold the original Plymouth site, south 
of the Tunxis, to Matthew Allyn of Hartford. 

The Oldham incident was a matter of no concern until in mod- 
ern times when pride of priority asserted itself. Oldham and his 
"adventurers" chose the beautiful fields at Pyquaug, built their 
huts in the fall of 1634 and turned the soil. Fifteen years after 
the settlement of the three towns, the General Court adopted 
boundary regulations, and after the words "most anncient towne" 
in the record there appears a parenthesis in different handwrit- 
ing reading "which for the river is determined by the courte to 
be Wethersfield." 

Among the other visitors of whom Brewster complained was 
one who represented a new and important element in the whole 
history of the "River Towns." This was "Mr." Francis Stiles, 
a London builder, accompanied by twenty-seven others, includ- 
ing Rachel (Mrs. John) Stiles and two other women, the first of 
the Connecticut colony. Enter the "Warwick Patent." In Eng- 
land, despite SaltonstalPs recent successful defense of the New 
England colonies before the court, Laud had assumed official 
supervision with purpose to crush religious and civil systems in 
force among them; a royal governor was to be imposed; emigra- 
tion from England of any above a servile station could be only 
by permission ; lords of the New England Council were hastening 
to divide up New England territory between themselves without 
regard to company patents; judgments were being procured 


against individuals of the Massachusetts Bay Company living in 
England, their fellows left as outlaws; the council was at an end 
and the indifferent Sir Ferdinando de Gorges was ere long to be 
appointed governor-general. In its last days the Earl of Warwick 
was president of the Plymouth Council in England. To himself 
and with only his secretary at the session, he granted this patent 
which in controversial history bears his name. By it, shrewdly, 
Viscount Saye and Sele, Lord Brooke, Richard Saltonstall, Pym, 
Hampden and other leaders in the cause of liberty were to estab- 
lish a colony for "lords and gentlemen," precisely as should ac- 
cord with Laud's fierce decree. As for "royal governor," John 
Winthrop, Jr., was commissioned — for one year. The territory 
covered was from Narragansett River westward indefinitely and 
the northern boundary inadvertently overlapped that of the Mas- 
sachusetts Bay. Lion Gardiner, war veteran, was to erect a fort- 
ification at the mouth of the Connecticut — palpably the best of 
locations, — George Fenwick was to be local agent, and Lady Fen- 
wick accompanied him. 

In this way, Warwick got something to stand on in the crash 
that was impending. But what with the rumbling of civil war 
already in the air, there was need of all Puritans of rank on their 
native soil, and Lady Fenwick was to be the only "lady" of the 
colony. She was a charming woman who became a member of 
Hooker's church in Hartford and whose body was buried at Say- 
brook. Saltonstall, for his part, sent out Stiles' party with direc- 
tions to establish a fine estate up the river. He surprised the 
Brewster Pilgrims at a moment when the Dorchester party hap- 
pened to be out prospecting. Taking dates together it would seem 
that this was what caused Ludlow's men to arrive at the decision 
that Windsor's north meadows (or "Great Meadow") was the 
ideal place for them. It eventuated that Stiles was allowed a 
little land at the north end (where the Oliver Wolcott homestead 
now stands) and many acres for the "estate" east of the river 
where also the Dorchester people bought wide territory of the 
Indians. Absorbed by the rush of events in England, Saltonstall 
abandoned his plan, after writing that his party had "carved 
well for themselves." He added with a significance of deep 
import in subsequent history that in the future they would see 
how much help could have been afforded them. Ludlow did not 
like the idea of a royal governor and was too impetuous or dis- 
ingenuous to perceive what was beneath the surface. 





That the Warwick Patent had much to do with the history of 
the River Towns and thereby with the birth of the Constitution 
interpretation of modern data, long obscured and sometimes even 
now handled too shrinkingly, confirms. What actually prompted 
Warwick in giving the grant in 1631 to important land hitherto 
passed by and how he did it for "lords and gentlemen" — perhaps 
riding two horses at once, the mad king's horse and the horse of 
the colonists — has nothing to do with subsequent operations. 
Those operations, together with his letter about future helpful- 
ness at Windsor, lend color to the supposition that in 1631 he may 
have foreseen the ugly attitude of the King in 1635 and therefore 
have been riding on the colonists' horse all the while. Patriots 
Pym and Hampden were associated with him. 

It may be remarked again at this point that full comprehen- 
sion of the why and wherefore of the historic achievement of the 
men of the River Towns cannot be had if one is too absorbed in 
the romance of the flight from the mother country and the 
thoughts, customs and doings of the people as pioneers. There 
have been other pioneers and other romances. These were not of 
the category of the hegira from Egypt, yet America today, with 
its government as originally established, is a hardly less historic 

There cannot be comprehension without an appreciative un- 
derstanding of the period in England from 1629 to 1640, the years 
of no Parliament and of the tyranny when England's constitu- 
tion lay crushed. At the time of the Warwick Patent, King 
Charles and Laud were seeking in various ways to correct what 
they considered a blunder in approving charters as they had been 
approved, but never so fiercely as after Laud's advancement to 



the archbishopric in 1633. Companies and councils under the 
charters were being upset; blind power, tumbling the pillars of 
English tradition, would seize its victims overseas and would 
check development by terrorizing. The small mass in America 
like the great mass in England was stunned, bewildered. Men of 
the Pym and Hampden calibre did not, in America, have the op- 
portunity of their prototypes ; their private correspondence itself 
revealed caution and anxiety; they were driven to veiling their 
thoughts — and some students have not yet penetrated the veil; it 
was for them, in the wilderness, to get still farther away from 
terrorizing influence, to assert themselves, unobtrusively, for 
their good, and bide the results. There was reason for those who 
would remain at the Bay, under the shadow of Laud's sceptre, to 
adhere to high prerogative, whatever their mental reservations, 
and to class distinction. There was reason for Ludlow, in civil 
life, and for Hooker, in religious life, to follow the impulse to seek 
some other place, more remote. Bits of written phraseology are 
evidence of the anxiety of Winthrop and others who would re- 
main, and there is presumptive evidence that they came into 
veiled collusion with the outgoers, particularly through Win- 
throp's own son. 

It was natural that men of Massachusetts, with more wealth 
and less financial obligation than the Plymouth Pilgrims, gave 
more thought to what they were accustomed to in England — 
affairs of church, of state, and of towns. Taken together they 
believed and, with Cotton, earnestly asserted that God never or- 
dained democracy for the government of the church and people ; 
the intolerant oligarchy and then the aristocracy they and their 
successors maintained till the Revolution forced Hooker, Ludlow, 
Haynes and others to seek new homes. Hooker's Newtown, Lud- 
low's Dorchester and Watertown by indirection were the seats of 
disaffection. The hunger for freedom of belief could not be 
appeased in a locality where only church members could be free- 
men and where the ministers were civic dictators. The conditions 
were too analagous with those in England; in fact there were 
indications in some quarters of the Bay's yielding to the recent 
royal demand to surrender; Laud and the King could not see con- 
stitutional government suppressed in England and cultivated 
in her colonies. It was true that more space was required, but 
Newtown's boundaries were enlarged without silencing the for- 

5— VOL. 1 


mal petition to the General Court to go elsewhere. Mr. Hooker, 
calmly but eloquently, was showing the error of government by 
church; Ludlow, in the elections, had seen a new light. The 
importuned General Court voted May 6, 1635, that petitioners 
might seek some "convenient" place. This did not particularly 
include Newtown people, but their six visitors to Windsor whom 
the hospitable Brewster had mentioned had been sent to find a 
convenient place, with final choice of Suckiaug, "commodious and 
beautiful," Hooker understood. Agawam might have been the 
choice but Rev. Thomas Parker's men — Pynchon's party — had 
pre-empted that. The permission was given specifically to the 
people of Dorchester and Watertown, the court voted two cannon 
for the "river plantations" and in September, 1635, William West- 
wood of Newtown was appointed constable, with authorization 
to the towns to choose officials of that rank. Oldham in May of 
1635 had gone by special permission to Pyquaug with members of 
the Watertown congregation, including Rev. Richard Dana, but 
not as a church, and their new home was called Watertown. 

Ludlow, all his life an adventurer, had been the most ener- 
getic of the outgoers. It has been seen that he had established 
and maintained claims at Windsor. Rev. Mr. Warham, not en- 
thusiastically, joined with a number of his congregation in mak- 
ing the journey in 1635. Rev. Mr. Maverick, deterred by age, 
remained in Dorchester and reorganized the church. The pio- 
neers took their livestock with them. The terrors of the winter 
were increased fourfold when the boats carrying their provisions 
were frozen in near the mouth of the Connecticut. Starvation 
threatening, a party of seventy sallied forth in the snow and cold 
and with almost superhuman effort made their way to the 
Rebecca, a distance of sixty miles. Fortunately a warm rain aided 
in releasing the boat and in making it possible to get back to 
Massachusetts. A smaller party struggled back overland. Those 
who remained subsisted on acorns, malt and grain, assisted by the 
Plymouth and Stiles men. The Indians also were helpful. By 
early spring all were on the frontier again and more were coming. 

Not as in the case of Watertown, there was practical una- 
nimity for the pilgrimage in Mr. Hooker's church. Elder Good- 
win himself was of those who went in the fall to Suckiaug to pre- 
pare the way. The other men were John Steele, William West- 
wood, Thomas Scott, Stephen Hart, William Pantry (who in 


The A'or/Sr- S'jctr f/an fat/on 
//ou*se /ofs 

/>so/>eers T- Adrenfi/serl 

(By permission) 



Watertown, which is now Cambridge, had occupied the land 
which was to form a large part of Harvard Square), John Barn- 
ard, William Butler, William Kelsey, Noah Ely, Richard Webb, 
Michael Clark, Richard Goodman, Edward Elmer, Matthew 
Marvin and Sergeant Thomas Stanley. With their families these 
numbered about fifty; nine others came but returned to Water- 
town to sell their houses. The following March, Westwood and 
Steele were the plantation's representatives in the river General 

The terrain that Goodwin's party found at Suckiaug north of 
the "rivulet" sloped eastward toward a low meadow along the 
Connecticut. The slightly hilly upland was for the most part 
densely wooded and it was along this that they marked off their 
lots, from Little River northward. Thanks to the long research 
of Rev. Dr. William DeLoss Love and the data gleaned by William 
S. Porter in 1839, eked out by A. L. Washburn, a map of the first 
settlement is furnished. Their main road (Front Street now) ran 
from the ford leading to Pyquaug (Wethersfield) to the north 
meadow (Village Street). Below the falls in Little River (at the 
ledges over which, though cut down, the water still swirls), a 
small palisado was erected with Sergeant Stanley's lot close by. 
Thence a roadway (now Main Street) was run northerly to a knoll 
called Sentinel Hill (where Main now runs northeasterly) and 
beyond to Matthew Allyn's lot. A watchman was stationed on the 
hill. The bend of both roads westerly was due to the presence of 
an Indian village in the north meadow. The river made the island 
previously referred to and another just below, a large part of 
which, on the East Hartford side, is well within the memory of 
men today. 

About half way from the palisado to the hill a large space was 
set aside, as customary with the New England settlers, for their 
"Meeting-house Yard." From this "yard" ran a lane (Prospect 
Street) to the Indian trail by Little River, and there, on the east 
corner, a lot was reserved for Thomas Hooker, while on the west 
corner one was marked off for the "teacher," Rev. Samuel Stone. 
The "Goodwin's Corner" of that day was about where the Munici- 
pal Building stands; the "Goodwin's Corner" of later generations 
was then Goodman's corner. Those named on the Love map 
include, in white space, those who returned to Newtown for the 
winter and suffered much on the journey. "Adventurers," a name 


sometimes applied to several of these in the land records, means 
those who selected land before the formal laying out of the planta- 
tion. The man Chaplin, named on the map, forsook Suckiaug for 
Pyquaug, where he is mentioned as the "proud and wealthy ruling 
elder" of the church, and became a trouble maker. 

Much of that first winter at Suckiaug was spent discussing 
title to the soil and the relation of the Warwick Patent thereto. 
Though officially (and publicly) they were supposed to be within 
the Massachusetts boundary, else they could not have brought 
along a pretense at formal government, they knew they were out- 
side of it, and they must have some definite legal right to settle- 
ment, especially if trouble with the Dutch should arise. What- 
ever the evils in England there must be some form of connection 
with that government. It was farthest from sane thought to 
throw off allegiance and stand alone against the perils of savages 
and sturdy Dutch traders. There had been communication be- 
tween the elder Winthrop at Boston and the younger Winthrop, 
Connecticut governor under the Warwick Patent, relative to 
Stiles' adventure at Windsor under patent rights. The Dutch, on 
their part, had communicated to Winthrop relative to the pres- 
ence of the settlers. Elder Goodwin had had one amicable con- 
ference with him. The Windsor problem could wait, and with it 
the Agawam problem which Pynchon's settlement was creating. 

There certainly was an undertone of harmony with the Suc- 
kiaug men, while neither Winthrop could be unaware of Hooker's 
aversion to a royal governor. The elder Winthrop recorded in his 
diary that a Watertown man went to and returned from Suckiaug 
during that winter. It must have been a message of importance 
that would cause him to brave the perils of such a journey. The 
message seems to have confirmed the "Adventurers" in their hope 
that the settlement could continue and therefore they could hasten 
to buy their land. And it is well to mark that the patentees were 
willing to yield the point that the settlers must acknowledge a 
foreign appointee (the younger Winthrop) as their governor even 
until the end of his year in July; he could build the fort and houses 
at Saybrook, placing Lion Gardiner in command — which he had 
done just before the Dutch reached there on a similar errand, — 
and what should come after that could be a matter of adjustment ; 
neither side in the state of affairs existing abroad could foresee 
what was to come. So the compromise was reached, giving ac- 


knowledgment of the patentee's rights and permitting a freedom 
of action in government, with provisional government by com- 
mission till organization could be effected. 

The agreement which took the form of the General Court's 
"Commission for a Provisional Government" makes that some- 
what neglected document of utmost value in tracing the steps of 
development toward the establishment of a free government. 
According to ancient custom, the whole 700 words of it are put 
into one sentence, and then there is still much to be understood 
between the lines through the study of contemporary activities 
summarized in this narrative. Taken in sequence, the points are : 

First — (Acknowledgment of cause.) "Upon some reasons 
and grounds, these "loving friends" of the three towns and other 
places "are to remove from this our government and common- 

Second — (Acknowledgment of Warwick Patent.) "We" and 
"John Winthrop, Jr., Esq., governor," * * * "appointed by 
certain noble personages and men of quality interested in" the 
river plantations and yet in England, "on their behalf" * * *. 

Third — (Acknowledgment of freedom to form a government.) 
"And in regard to said noble personages and men of quality have 
something engaged themselves and their estates in the planting 
of said river, and by virtue of a patent do require jurisdiction of 
the said place and people, and neither the minds of the said per- 
sonages (they being writ unto) are as yet known, nor any man 
of government is yet agreed on, and there being urgent necessity 
for some government" * * *. 

Fourth — (Ludlow, chairman.) Commission to be Roger Lud- 
low, Esq., (Windsor), William Pynchon, Esq., (Agawam), John 
Steele (Hartford), William Swaine (Wethersfield), Henry Smith 
(Agawam), William Phelps (Windsor), William Westwood 
(Hartford), Andrew Ward (Wethersfield). Ludlow's name was 
first because he was an assistant in the General Court. 

Fifth — (People as court.) The commission, on day or days 
which they shall appoint and upon convenient notice, shall as- 
semble "the inhabitants" of the towns to proceed as a court in 
administering justice, to look to the ordering of all affairs, includ- 
ing business, building, planting and defensive war (if need 

Sixth — (To be satisfactory to Massachusetts.) The commis- 


sion should not continue beyond one year and should cease sooner 
"if there may be a mutual and settled government" agreeable to 
"said noble personages, or their agent," to the inhabitants and to 
"this commonwealth." 

Seventh — (Warwick boundaries left undefined.) And this 
was not to prejudice the interests of those "noble personages" in 
the said river and confines thereof within their several limits. 

There unmistakably are indications here of the keen mind of 
Ludlow and of the touch of Hooker and both Winthrops. There 
was enough of "royal personages" to distract Laud's attention 
should Warwick or other be compelled to read it to him, and there 
was ample for Hooker's first steps. Furthermore, such a docu- 
ment never would have been approved in Massachusetts had the 
necks of all the authorities been as stiff as other incidents and 
certain letters would betoken ; the arguments of Hooker and Lud- 
low had had more weight than otherwise is indicated; the 
younger Winthrop was helpful in what today might be analyzed 
as an adroit plan to enable the Hooker people to have their way, 
even to the uttermost, for independent government, and there was 
no breach between Winthrop the son and Winthrop the father, 
the leader in the Massachusetts hierarchy. Still further it is prob- 
able that the popular Governor Haynes of the Bay had had a voice 
in this. Incidentally, it was an hour when a new royal threat 
against the Bay charter could not have been taken as appreciation 
of constant loyalty of noble personages to the government. 

The rest is chiefly incidents familiar in most part from much 
writing. Rev. Samuel Stone, John White, Samuel Wakeman 
(sworn in as constables in April) and one or two others hastened 
to Hartford in the spring of 1636, and the first General Court un- 
der the provisional government was held April 26. Winthrop had 
reached his fort at Saybrook in March. On Mr. Stone's arrival at 
Suckiaug, the purchase of land from Sequassen was made by him 
and Elder Goodwin. The original was lost later — as also was the 
Dutchmen's — but it was confirmed in 1670 by the descendants of 
Sequassen who gave it, and a letter of Lord Saye and Sele's had 
spoken of it. The first-comers had kept off the Dutchmen's land 
south of Little River. Now the purchase had been made of all ter- 
ritory from Wethersfield to Windsor, White and Wakeman took 
lots just across the "rivulet." More land in the Dutch section was 


occupied but none that was under cultivation. The Dutchmen's 
diplomatic protest to Winthrop entered upon a long sleep. 

Rev. Mr. Hooker and his large company, men, women and chil- 
dren, his feeble wife in a horse-litter, left Newtown May 31 (1636) 
and were in the plantation two weeks later. They drove 160 cattle 
with sheep, swine and fowls. Thomas Bull was in special charge 
of "six cows, four steers and a bull" which the elder Winthrop was 
sending to Saybrook. Their course was along the path already 
familiar to the English since Oldham first reported it. It was the 
regular Indian trail, well marked and with Indian villages along 
the route, and led to the former "Bissell's ferry" at Windsor. The 
name "Bay Path" or "Connecticut Path" was applied to it for a 
dozen years or until new paths were taken, by the exigencies of 
new settlements, when it was called the "Old Path." Crossing the 
river at Windsor, the party came down on the west side. The con- 
ventional story has the party carrying household goods. Imagin- 
ative artists, hard put to it by such an account, drew pictures 
showing something like "prairie schooners." Better information 
is furnished by the diary of Lion Gardiner, commandant at Fort 
Saybrook, who reported many boats carrying people and goods. 
Other colonists came later in the year and several the following 

The three river towns were "plantations" in correct parlance 
till the Constitution was adopted, but Hartford anticipated official 
authorization and organized at once on the town plan ; whence its 
claim to being the oldest organized town in the state. In effect 
and for convenience in distributing land, it was two plantations 
after the Hooker party took locations, one north and one south of 
Little River, but in relation to the colony and for the Pequot war 
so soon to follow, it was one. Windsor acted only as a body of 
inhabitants, not even townsmen being chosen. In Wethersfield the 
plantation system was adhered to after town organization had 
been decreed by the General Court, presumably because of a dis- 
agreement between the church and inhabitants over prior rights 
relative to distribution of land. 

This provisional commission or body of magistrates, whose 
terms would expire about one year from March 3, 1636, held their 
first court April 26 in Newtown (Hartford). In all there were 
seven sessions, concluding February 21, 1637, at which session the 
towns were given their permanent names. Ludlow, Phelps, Steele 


and Westwood attended all sessions; Swaine did not arrive from 
Watertown, where he was a deputy, till after the first two ses- 
sions; Pynchon was present at but one, in November, and his son- 
in-law, Smyth, at none. According to the terms of the agree- 
ment, it would be necessary to continue some consistent form of 
government; the method was at hand for this and the existing 
system was satisfactory. The inhabitants undoubtedly convened 
as a court of election on March 28, 1637, and reelected the mag- 
istrates excepting Westwood of Hartford's north plantation, who 
was succeeded by Thomas Welles of the south plantation, in order 
to have both places represented. All the "inhabitants," or ad- 
mitted dwellers in the plantations, had the franchise. 

In general the pioneers in this formative period were in four 
civic classes: The "inhabitants" were those admitted by a major- 
ity vote of the voters and took the oath of allegiance; the "house- 
holders" were heads of families, men or women, and owned a 
certain amount of real estate ; the "proprietors" were the original 
purchasers of land, not necessarily residents, or those to whom 
such sold their rights, voting as "admitted inhabitants" and en- 
titled to share in "common and undivided lands." 

The election court was held in Hartford as the most "con- 
venient place." The court sessions also had been held there, 
with the exception of one at Windsor and one at Wethersfield. 
But there were disadvantages. Hartford, being central, was 
preeminently the most convenient place for meeting, and yet no 
one place could be convenient for the body of electors when con- 
vened. Town government not having been adopted, a good solu- 
tion was found in having inhabitants in each plantation elect 
three "committees" each (not "committees" in the modern sense 
but rather trustees, in the old-time sense) who should elect the 
magistrates and also should share the responsibilities of gov- 
ernment. They should be like town deputies and such they were 
denominated after towns were established. 

It would appear that the first session, May 1, 1637, adjourned 
twice, according to later custom; and then there was a new 
election with only two "committees" from each plantation before 
the November session, and at the next and last session in Feb- 
ruary, 1638, adjournment was sine die with a new election in 
prospect. The magistrates convened as "particular courts" as 
well as General Court. 



The one graver problem than government had obtruded itself 
at the first session of 1637, and that was war — offensive that it 
might be defensive. The story of the rapid development of free 
government has to be interrupted. 

(From Barber's "Historical Collections") 



Hartford's First Conveyance 




Casual history credits the origin of the Pequot war, Connec- 
ticut's only war, to the murder of John Oldham and his crew of 
two Narragansetts off Block Island and to the hasty action of 
Governor Henry Vane of Massachusetts in sending soldiers to 
avenge on suspects the death of a resident of his colony. Causes 
of war are not readily determined but in this instance the early 
grievance of the Pequots has been overlooked. A proud and 
warlike race, never forgetting, had resented the acts of the Eng- 
lishmen in not recognizing their supremacy over the mild 
Sequins of the valley. The moment Lieutenant Holmes restored 
a Sequin sachem to his clan and bought land of him, the Pequot 
pride was touched; when Newtown also recognized the original 
owners instead of the haughty usurpers, anger was kindled. 

Whether or no the greater peril was from Indians or Dutch- 
men, the colonists had sensed that there must be a state of pre- 
paredness, and to that end it was written in the first year's rec- 
ords, June 7, 1636, that every man must have constantly ready 
for the constables' inspection two pounds of powder and twenty 
bullets or be fined ten shillings, and there must be monthly train- 
ing. The first decree of the court, when it was learned that 
Henry Stiles of Windsor had bartered a "piece" for corn, was 
that no firearms should pass to natives under any circumstances. 
On their side the wrathful and wary Pequots were still in dread 
of blunderbusses. They actually had acquired a few, but could 
rely only on the knife and tomahawk, arrow and ambush. And 
it was likely to be necessary to include all white men in their 
hostility ; for Sassacus, their chief, earlier had had special cause 
for smiting. His father, who had sold land to the Dutch, had 
been killed by them because he had killed a hostile Indian who 



had come to trade with the Dutch, contrary to agreement. That 
had been followed by the especially brutal murder of Captain 
Stone and Captain Morton, Massachusetts men, and their crew 
of nine in their boat on the Connecticut on their way up from 
Virginia to trade with the Dutch. With false promises and much 
obeisance to Massachusetts, Sassacus had escaped punishment 
for that and his awe had not been increased. Now that more 
white men were coming within his realm and treating him dis- 
dainfully, and now that the Narragansetts to the east were in 
unfriendly mood, and Uncas, his rebellious son-in-law, was court- 
ing the favor of the whites, it was time to spread terror. If war 
resulted, he outnumbered the able-bodied whites of the river 
towns four to one, and moreover they were unfamiliar with the 
wilderness and with Indian tactics. Oldham, with George Fen- 
wick and Rev. Hugh Peters, had been parties to the conferences 
with the Pequots after the Connecticut River murders. 

If Oldham's murder, July 5, 1636, was a part of Sassacus's 
campaign, there was no evidence of it. The final outcome, how- 
ever, was to set him and all the other Indians right in their esti- 
mate of English strength. John Gallop, sailing from Connecti- 
cut to Massachusetts, inflicted first punishment when he came 
upon the vessel, fired into the Indian assailants, driving most of 
them into the water to drown, saved two boys who were kins- 
men of Oldham, recovered Oldham's mutiliated body, rammed 
the craft, left it to drift ashore with two Indians in the hull and 
made off with one prisoner. Almost immediately Governor Vane 
hurried a force of ninety men, under John Endicott and Captain 
John Underhill, military trainers in the colony, to bring back 
women and children as slaves and to compel the Pequots to give 
up all who had had a part in any of the several murders. Endi- 
cott discharged his mission except as to securing slaves and the 
possible murderers. On his way he went by Saybrook where 
Gardiner declared a "hornets' nest had been stirred up," yet 
allowed twenty of his men to join Endicott. 

There was much devastation at Pequot (New London) har- 
bor, and altogether the warriors of Sassacus were thoroughly 
aroused. They would have brought the Narragansetts into alli- 
ance had it not been for Roger Williams. Gardiner put his fort 
in readiness for an attack. Two of the garrison, Butterfield and 
Tilly, were caught in the fields and suffered death by torture. 


Outbuildings were burned and the fort was besieged through the 
winter. In March Gardiner was wounded while escaping with 
his men from an ambush. This news in Hartford caused the has- 
tening of twenty men to the fort under Capt. John Mason of 
Windsor who had been a soldier with Miles Standish, Underhill 
and Gardiner under Fairfax in Holland. Forthwith the Indians 
turned toward the weakened river towns. Sowheag, the old 
chieftain at Mettabesset (Middletown) who had sold land to the 
Wethersfield settlers and who had been banished after a quarrel 
over the sale, was induced to join with the Pequots. April 23 
they stole upon Wethersfield and killed six men and three women. 
Two daughters of Abraham Swain were carried down river in 
canoes that Gardiner might be witness to the Indian victory, but 
a cannon ball dispersed the craft. The Dutch later rescued the 
girls in Pequot harbor. 

In a letter to Governor Vane the Connecticut magistrates 
deprecated his course of action and begged for assistance in 
defending the weak settlements. Arrival of a few Massachusetts 
men at Saybrook enabled Mason and his contingent to return to 
take over the home defense which Ludlow had been conducting. 
From Uncas, now at Podunk fort with twenty-five of his Mohe- 
gans who had followed him from the Pequot land, the colonists 
learned of the general preparations Sassacus had been making. 

Eight days after the Wethersfield massacre, the General Court 
held its second session, Ludlow presiding. Their total popula- 
tion was about 350, their able-bodied men not over 100. With 
annihilation confronting them, there was but one alternative. 
Attempted flight would mean death in the wilderness; of food 
they had little and none could be had by boat or from the soil or 
forests while the Indians lay in ambush ; the local Indians in their 
terror were likely to become hostile ; their own men were too few 
and inexperienced for forest warfare; averse as they were to 
bloodshed, the preservation of their women and children de- 
manded that they find the lair of their enemy and destroy him. 

The brief record says that it was ordered that there be an 
offensive war and that ninety men be levied on the plantations — 
Hartford 42, Windsor 30, and Wethersfield 18, under Captain 
Mason's command, Robert Seeley of Wethersfield, lieutenant, and 
the oldest sergeant next in rank. Rev. Samuel Stone was ap- 
pointed chaplain by the captain. Mr. Hooker wrote Governor 


Winthrop — and sundry critics of later years should have read it : 
"Against our minds, being constrained by necessity * * *. 
The Indians here, our friends, were so importunate with us to 
make war presently that unless we attempted something we would 
have delivered our persons into contempt of base fear and cow- 
ardice and caused them to turn enemies against us." 

Accompanied by Uncas and his followers, they embarked in 
their pink, pinnace and shallop, after a blessing by Mr. Hooker. 
The scanty rations were supplemented by "one good hogshead of 
beer for the captain, minister and sick," and "if there be only 
three or four gallons of strong water, two gallons of sack." Mr. 
Pynchon furnished the shallop. The agony, terror and privations 
of those left at home were described in a letter to Pynchon, re- 
gretting that men could not be sent from Springfield, written by 
Ludlow, who was in command of the home defense. At Windsor 
a palisade was built north of the Tunxis, with the church in the 
center, "the veritable shrine of Windsor history and romance." 
Uncas and his men, increased to seventy, left the slow ships on 
the river to scout, and on their way met a band of the Pequots 
of whom they killed seven. Nevertheless, before Gardiner would 
be convinced of his loyalty, he had to go out from the Saybrook 
fort, kill four others and bring in a prisoner, who proved to be a 
former garrison interpreter and now was a spy. Uncas was per- 
mitted to put him to death by torture. 

Underhill and twenty men joined Mason at the fort, thus 
releasing an equal number to return to the settlement, the peril 
of which was grave. The home government — as governments 
sometimes will — planned the strategy of the expedition, suggest- 
ing a direct attack upon the enemy's main fort. Once out on the 
Sound, Mason told his men they would go around and attack from 
the east, hoping to surprise. Some counseled obedience to the 
government instructions, but when the chaplain prayed over the 
subject and announced next morning that Mason's plan was the 
right one, there was cheerful acquiescence. They reached the 
coast near Point Judith May 21, but were detained there two 
days, the first because it was Sunday and the second because of 
high seas. At the council wigwam of Canonicus of the Narra- 
gansetts, his nephew Miantonomoh expressed his doubts of the 
success of so small a body but gave permission to pass, and a 
number of his men following them were later urged by Mason to 


stand by and see what the English could do. This was not fool- 
hardiness, as some have said; a purpose of the expedition was to 
overawe the natives, and Mason, with his handful of wholly un- 
trained men, must be bold. 

There was to be no waiting for the Massachusetts men who 
sent word they were at Providence. The boats and Surgeon 
Thomas Pell of Saybrook were ordered back to Pequot harbor 
while the men pressed on to reach the nearer of the two forts, 
the one at Mystic, to which, it developed, Sassacus had sent most 
of his warriors to have a war dance, celebrating the cowardice 
of Mason in passing by Pequot harbor. They were to start on 
the warpath the next day. Their cries and their chants were 
heard by the English pickets around the campfire two miles away 
where the English were asleep after an exhausting march of two 
days under a blazing sun. At dawn May 26, Chaplain Stone of- 
fered prayer and Mason advanced cautiously, he with Lieutenant 
Seeley and half his force toward one entrance of the stockade, 
Underhill toward the one at the opposite corner. A dog barked, 
an Indian cried, "The English!" a volley was fired through the 
spaces between the logs of the stockade. Mason thrust aside the 
brush screen at the entrance and, risking everything for sur- 
prise, charged in. From the wigwams came volleys of arrows at 
close range, wounding few, however, because of "special Provi- 
dence," Mason wrote. The struggle now hand to hand, the tide 
was turning against the white men. An arrow well aimed at 
Mason's face was checked only by the cutting of the bowstring 
by William Hayden of Windsor (whose sword is now in the pos- 
session of the Connecticut Historical Society). As the last des- 
perate recourse Mason applied the torch to the wigwams, Under- 
hill did likewise; the men, withdrawn, were posted around the 
stockade to prevent escape, the Mohegans back of them. Seven 
broke through the line, seven were captured and the rest — 150, 
according to Winthrop, — including a very few squaws and chil- 
dren, were killed. The casualties among the seventy-seven white 
men were two killed and twenty wounded. 

A few volleys dispersed a party coming from the other fort 
while Mason was making his way to the boats which had come 
into the harbor, Patrick and his forty Massachusetts men aboard 
them. The Indians burned the other fort and fled westward, 
except a few who were disposed of by Captain Stoughton and 120 


Massachusetts men after Mason had embarked his wounded and 
part of his men. With the remainder, Mason took the trail for 
Saybrook. In the hour of thanksgiving at home, the victorious 
commander and thirty men, joined by Ludlow, were sent to assist 
Stoughton in overtaking the Pequots with hope of preventing 
their return. Most of the fugitives were surrounded in a swamp 
at Sasco (near Southport) and after a fierce fight were annihi- 
lated or captured. Sassacus and a few others broke through and 
reached the Mohawks in New York, from whom soon came their 
scalps as a token of good will on the part of those who had been 
awed. The prisoners were disposed of as slaves. Not only had 
this colony been saved but the story of the white men's prowess 
traveled fast among the tribes with results that were salutary 
along the seaboard. 

Both Connecticut and Massachusetts believed the conquered 
Pequot territory belonged to them. But they were affable. 
When Massachusetts gave the younger Winthrop Fisher's Island, 
Connecticut congratulated him, and again when he acquired 
property around present New London. Winthrop proved to be 
a good Connecticut man and Connecticut finally became the re- 
cognized possessor of the Pequot country. Immediately after the 
war, the first treaty in America was signed at Hartford, October 
1, 1638, by John Haynes, Roger Ludlow and Edward Hopkins for 
Connecticut, Miantonomoh for the Narragansetts and Uncas for 
the Mohegans by which quarrels should be referred to the Eng- 
lish who would take up arms against any dissenter from their 
decision; Mohegans and Narragansetts were to destroy Pequots 
found guilty of bloodshed and bring their heads to the magis- 
trates. The 200 survivors of the Pequots were to be distributed 
among the Narragansetts, the East Nehantics and the Mohe- 
gans, all three of which tribes should pay annual tribute, to be 
collected from the conquered; their territory was to be consid- 
ered the property of Connecticut. 

The names of those who served in the war have been obtained 
so far as possible by James Shepard of New Britain and are: 

Hartford — Thomas Barnes, Peter Blacthf ord, Thomas Blatch- 
ley, William Blumfield, John Bronson, Thomas Bull, Thomas 
Bunce, John Clark, Michael Clark, William Cornwell, Capt. John 
Cullick, Sergeant Philip Davis, Michael Disbrough, Edward 
Elmer,* Zachariah Field, Richard Goodman, Thomas and Samuel 

6— VOL. 1 


Hale, John Hall, Stephen Hart, William Hayden, John Hills, John 
Holloway, John Ince, Michael Jennings, Benjamin Munn, Thomas 
Munson, Thomas Olcott, Michael Olmstead,* Richard Olmstead, 
William Parker, William Phillips, John Pierce, William Pratt, 
John Purkas, Thomas Root, Robert Sanford, Arthur Smith, 
Thomas Stanton, George Steele, John Stanley (age 13), Thomas 
Spencer, John Stone, Henry Walkley, John Warner, Samuel 

Windsor — Sergeant Benedict Alvord, Thomas Barber, Thomas 
Buckland, George Chappell, John Dyer, James Eggleston, Nath- 
aniel Gillett, Thomas Gridley, John (?) Hedge, Capt. John Mason, 
Richard Osborne, Sergeant Nicholas Palmer, Thomas Parsons, 
Edward Pattison, Sergeant Thomas Staires, Aaron Stark, 
Thomas Stiles, William Thrall. 

Wethersfield — John Clark, William Comstock, William Cross, 
Ensign William Goodrich, Thomas Hollybut, Jeremy Jagger, 
John Johnson, Nathaniel Merriman*, Sergeant John Nott, Wil- 
liam Palmer, Robert Park, John Plumb, Robert Rose, Jr., Lieut. 
Robert Seeley, Samuel Sherman, Henry Smith, Samuel Smith, 
Thomas Standish, Sergeant Thomas Tibballs, Thomas Tracey, 
William Treat, Jacob Waterhouse, Richard Westcott. 

Saybrook — John Gallop, Jr.*, Lieut. Lion Gardiner, Edward 
Lay, Capt. John Underhill, Rev. John Higginson, Saybrook chap- 
lain, John Woods. 

(Those marked [*] also served in King Philip's war.) 

To the Hartford soldiers the people of the plantation set off 
the land given them by the grateful Indians — the site of their 
village in the north meadows — thereafter known as Soldiers 
Field. There had been no question of pay when the levy of troops 
was made; it was then a question of existence pure and simple. 
In the following September the General Court fixed a rate based 
on one shilling a day for common soldiers for the three weeks and 
five days, or twelve days for those who served only at Mystic 
fort, Sundays not included. A levy of £620 was made pro rata 
on the three plantations to defray the expenses of the war and 
it was ordered that the plantations must provide fifty "costlets" 
(corselets of heavy cotton cloth) and have them subject to inspec- 
tion. Mason was appointed military officer with pay of £40 a 
year. All above 16 years of age were required to appear before 


him for training ten days a year, and a magazine of powder and 
shot was to be maintained in each plantation. The first and very 
necessitous military organization was thus kept up, and such 
has been continued without break from that day to this. One 
immediate result was the protection which enabled New Haven 
colony to be developed. 




It was only the culmination of progress toward the Constitu- 
tion that was interrupted by the Pequot war and other exigen- 
cies. The leaders were of the same mind as when the provisional 
agreement was formulated by them in the Massachusetts Gen- 
eral Court, and the exigencies were strengthening the spirit of 
the people. Analytical history, in sequence, instead of a disor- 
derly collection of narratives in the first place, would have pre- 
vented the false but long popular conceptions that the Constitu- 
tion was an outburst of public sentiment in 1639 and a creation 
of the three towns. Unmistakably, as has here been written, 
there had been steady growth. So sturdy was it that its first 
notable shoot had been put forth in this provisional agreement 
with the Warwick patentees in the frigid atmosphere of the gov- 
ernment of the Bay Colony itself. Had it been otherwise, the 
end of that first year named in the agreement would have been 
the occasion of reopening of old discussions and adjustment of 
lines. Instead, as has been noted, the provisional General Court 
kept on as a matter of course and moved for the crushing of the 
Pequots. Its records are silent — as though considered of passing 
consequence — but the list of members shows there had been a 
popular election, since Hartford's South Side had been recog- 
nized by the choice of Thomas Welles in place of William West- 
wood as one of Hartford's two "committees." And so the court 
was carried on till the next need could be met. 

That need was to be the framing of laws. Winslow had said 
of the Bay: "The people had long desired a body of laws and 
thought their condition unsafe while so much power rested in the 
discretion of the magistrates;" * * * "the magistrates and 
some of the elders" were not "very forward in this matter." 



Simple as the "Fundamental Orders" read today, one can but see 
that, with no practical pattern to go by, the task of evolving this 
splendid and eternal simplicity required thought and patience. 
And there were more immediate needs for the plantations' inhab- 
itants — the needs of mere physical existence. These are points 
that must not be forgotten; conditions should be visualized as 
nearly as possible. 

Vaguely, the territory between Wethersfield and Windsor 
extended easterly to the land of the Mohegans and westerly six 
miles but later an indefinite distance. Sequassen and his band 
took up their abode in the south meadows on the land the Dutch 
said they had bought and where, according to their treaty, some 
of Sowheag's followers, under Manorlos, had a village and a small 
fort near the Dutch fort. (Subsequently this land was rented of 
the Indians, till finally divided between the North and South 
churches.) From the Indian fort northward extended a strip 
mentioned in later deeds as Pequot's Heads, where Brainard 
Field now is. There, according to the Indian custom, the Sequins 
fastened to poles the scalps of the Pequots they had helped to 

For this wild spot was chosen the name Hartford, following 
the popular pronunciation of Hertford, one of the most ancient 
shires in England. This was in honor of Mr. Stone who had come 
from that place and was a member of St. Andrew's. It proved a 
worthy choice in sundry ways. For one thing there was held 
there the first representative meeting in the British Isles, when 
in 673 the Romans and Britons met and formed the first national 
English church, under Archbishop Theodore. In this was the 
inception of Parliament. At Hertford a Saxon king built the 
first castle to protect his people from the Danes. It remained 
till William the Conqueror erected on its site one of his great 
citadels for defense of his realm, the foundations of which are 
still to be seen. The present castle, built in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, under the direction of an ancestor of the Newberry family 
prominent in Windsor history, was always a favorite resort for 
royalty; many have bestowed costly memorials upon it. There 
were "Friends of Hertford" as now of Hartford. The red brick 
building of 1670 was their meeting place and today the store of 
relics attracts antiquarians. George Fox and William Penn were 
among those who worshipped there, and also Thomas Dinsdate, 


Perm's grandson, who was the real discoverer of inoculation for 
smallpox. The town has the right to bear the ancient "standard 
of honor." 

Men of means and men of education, their first thought for a 
free government and their church, in this new land went forth 
courageously to fight the Indian murderers and hurried back to 
resume their equally unaccustomed labors — building their 
houses and tilling their soil. Elder Goodwin and the few "ad- 
venturers" had spent the first winter in dugouts. The houses 
of 1637 were of logs banked up with clay. Even to prepare the 
places for them required much toil. Primeval trees had to be 
removed and worked up with such few tools as they had, cart 
paths had to be cut through the forest, and stones and dirt had 
to be drawn with such beasts of burden as they had brought with 
them. Of the homes, Mr. Hooker's was to be the best, yet not so 
good but that it had to be rebuilt two years later, and the church 
on the south side of "meeting-house yard" was completed before 
the builders had a place to rest their heads comfortably. This 
church likewise was a temporary structure. 

Magistrates were obliged to work side by side with the hum- 
blest "inhabitant" while being relied upon to devise the system 
of government that should satisfy. In this they were subjected 
to further hindrance through the calls being made upon the time 
of their pastor. One of his toilsome expeditions to Boston was 
to sit in council, in 1637, in the case of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson. 
Mr. Stone accompanied him. Mrs. Hutchinson had won every- 
body's esteem by her kindliness and energy, for the well-being of 
women in particular, when she began preaching that salvation 
was a personal matter irrespective of church, and also that one 
who did not get it after trying hard was a hopeless failure in 
life. Her followers increased daily; excitement ran high. Mr. 
Hooker was called to preside over the ecclesiastical synod, a duty 
which kept him and Mr. Stone in Boston for three months. 
Eventually Mrs. Hutchinson was banished and six years later 
was killed by Indians during the Dutch disturbances near Green- 

Further distraction was caused by the important discussion 
in 1637 of a federation of Massachusetts and Connecticut, with 
Plymouth invited to participate. This was the earliest proposi- 
tion for a union in America. Articles for ratification were drawn 


up in August by some of the Bay magistrates, and in Novem- 
ber of that year Massachusetts had seemed to consider them in 
force, even though unratified, since it passed votes relative to 
Pequot lands with title for Massachusetts and Connecticut, — 
action which, however, was repudiated in 1641. Details of the 
federation were not worked out till 1643. In May of busy 1638 
a letter on this subject of federating was sent to Winthrop con- 
cerning a commission composed of Haynes, Pym and John Steele. 
Pynchon, at the meeting held the next month, expressed Aga- 
wam's desire to remain under Massachusetts government. Con- 
necticut commissioners remarked upon the fact that as a com- 
missioner in 1637 he had expressed apprehension that Agawam 
would fall within the Bay jurisdiction and thought that his 
change of heart must be due to a "present pang" caused by the 
recent censure of Connecticut. 

Here was joined an issue that resulted in Agawam's falling 
out of the category of Constitution towns. Despite the Warwick 
Patent and his own official connection with the river towns, Pyn- 
chon came to lean more toward aristocracy. His people obeyed 
the call for "committees" from each plantation for the election 
court in Hartford in 1638 but he led his plantation to withdraw 
that year. The court at that session recognized jurisdiction by 
giving Pynchon a monopoly of the Indian trade at Agawam and 
in return Pynchon was to furnish 500 bushels of corn at a fixed 
rate. Failing in this he was tried in Hartford on a charge of 
bad faith. Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone, the controversy having 
been referred to them, found that he had violated his magisterial 
oath. At the April session he appeared and heard judgment that 
he had not been so careful as he might be, for which he was fined 
forty bushels of corn. A generous extension of his monopoly to 
include beaver skins did not operate as a balm to his wounded 
feelings. But what is more, he was not impressed with Mr. 
Hooker's plan for a commonwealth; he agreed with Winthrop 
that public affairs should not be submitted to the people. Ener- 
getic and forceful, he built a warehouse and dock at Enfield falls, 
or at what was to be called Warehouse Point, and altogether was 
a man of progress along other than governmental lines. 

In the fall of 1638, Hooker wrote Winthrop that Connecticut 
jurisdiction had been recognized in Agawam when it recently 
had sent a culprit to be punished, and added that if Pynchon 


could engage himself in a civil covenant and disregard it at his 
pleasure, he must find "a law for it; for it is written in no law or 
gospel that I ever read. The want of his help troubles me not, nor 
any man else I can hear of. I do assure you we know him from 
the bottom to the brim and follow him in all his proceedings and 
track him in his privy footsteps, only we would have him and all 
the world to understand he doth not walk in the dark for us." 
He may have had in mind also his Calvinism which later was to 
be a source of trouble to Pynchon. Winthrop wrote in his jour- 
nal that a source of disagreement was that in Connecticut with 
its untrained civil officers "the main burden for managing of 
state business fell upon some one or other ministers, (as the 
phrase and style of their letters will clearly discover)." 

February 14, 1639, (after the adoption of the Constitution), 
Pynchon recorded in Agawam town records an agreement exe- 
cuted by him creating him a magistrate in that plantation for all 
cases of justice subject to approval by the Massachusetts General 
Court. He also wrote a letter about his Connecticut affair for 
circulation through Connecticut towns, to which the General 
Court authorized a reply that his course was "very offensive and 
far unbeseeming one of your quality." The Windsor church dis- 
ciplined him but he obtained a favorable report when he went to 
the Roxbury court for a review. It was ten years before Massa- 
chusetts admitted representation from Agawam to the General 

Enough has been told to indicate why sessions of the original 
General Court were only for meeting the needs of the moment, 
and why, as yet, no one had presented a formulated plan express- 
ing the ideas that many were entertaining. Indicative, first, of 
Mr. Hooker's fearless spirit; second, of traits which had elicited 
Governor Winthrop's side comment just quoted, and, third, of his 
strengthening faith that the "despised" would yet come into their 
own, a brief extract from a letter from him to Governor Winthrop 
should be given. It was written in the fall of 1638, at the time 
immigration into the colony was being cut down by adverse propa- 
ganda to those "on land, to boats approaching land and those 
around the exchange in London," for the most of which, political 
and anti-democracy influence back of the Bay colony was held to 
be measurably responsible. Mr. Hooker wrote : 


"Sir, he wants a nostril that feels not and senses not a 
schismatical spirit in such a framer of falsifying relations 
to gratify some persons and satisfy their own ends. 

"Do these things argue brotherly love? Do these issue 
from spirits that either pity the necessities of their brethren 
or would that the work of God should prosper in their hands? 
Or rather argue quite the contrary. If these be the ways of 
God, or that blessing of God do follow them, I never 
preached God's ways nor knew what belonged to them. 

"I suppose these premises will easily let any reasonable 
man see what the conclusion must be that men would have to 
follow. The misery of the men of Connecticut would be 
marvelously acceptable to such, and therefore there is little 
expectation they do desire their good, and would procure it, 
who are not willing any good should come to them, if all the 
inventions of falsehood can prevail. Worthy Sir, these are 
not jealousies which we needlessly raise; they are realities 
which passengers daily relate, and we hear and bear : I leave 
them in your bosom ; only I confess I count it my duty, and I 
do publicly and privately pray against such wickedness ; and 
the Lord hath wont to hear the prayer of the despised." 

John Talcott, William Westwood and William Wadsworth 
were the "townsmen," like selectmen, in Hartford in this period 
before there was a Constitution to authorize towns. And it was 
to push on further and have a recorder of deeds, William Spencer, 
who was not authorized colony-wise till after the Constitution 
had directed all three plantations to organize as towns, at which 
time he was formally reelected. Windsor also had a dividing 
rivulet, but the Plymouth portion and the Great Meadow or 
northern portion were so much like one, after the Dorchester 
people had purchased, that all impression of division of territory 
was removed. Wethersfield was a natural unit. Whatever the 
minor differences, all three towns were being conducted under the 
principles of free and independent government. The historic 
sermon of Mr. Hooker, therefore, outlining such government, fell 
on sympathetic if not on expectant ears. 

That sermon was delivered on May 31, 1638, the second anni- 
versary of leaving Newtown, at an adjourned session of the court 
that had been assembled in April. As he had been the leader in 
the thought in Newtown, this was the formulation of his ideas 
with which the others were not unfamiliar. They had not been 
shouted from the housetops nor put down in writing while Eng- 


land was jostling about as she was and the Bay was heading 
toward oligarchy and life-tenure. Rev. John Cotton, ecclesiastical 
Mussolini, was declaring that the people were not fit to rule, and 
Winthrop had written Hooker that it was unwise to refer matters 
to the people. (The world is indebted to the informal but inde- 
fatigable sermon-reporter, Henry Wolcott, Jr., of Windsor, for its 
knowledge of Hooker's sermon. His notes of all the sermons he 
reported — for his private box — were so crude as to pass unrecog- 
nized until J. Hammond Trumbull of Hartford more than two 
centuries afterward deciphered them and wrote them out. ) 

The eminent minister who had replied to Winthrop, writing, 
"In matters of great consequence, which concern the common 
good, a general council, chosen by all, to transact businesses which 
concern all, I conceive, under favor, most suitable to rule and 
most safe for relief of the whole," was to voice, on this May 31, 
at the session of the kind of government already built up in the 
wilderness and before men awaiting only the impressive wording 
of their convictions, that political principle which was to prevail 
as the ideal from that day to this, and in this present is success- 
fully withstanding efforts to distort or destroy it. 

His text was Deuteronomy 1:13 — God's injunction to select 
wise men "and known among your tribes," to be made rulers. 
Those who select, by God's own allowance, have the power also 
to limit power — "because the foundation of authority is laid in 
the free consent of the people" and "because by a free choice the 
hearts of the people will be more inclined to the love of the persons 
chosen, and more ready to yield obedience." The exhortation 
included: "To persuade us, as God hath given us liberty, to take 
it." The exhortation was effective; the Fundamental Orders 
were adopted January 24, 1639, or as soon after that sermon as 
circumstances, to be considered later, would admit. They prob- 
ably were under discussion at the fall session and this was an 
adjourned session, Roger Ludlow's preeminent legal talent doubt- 
less having been employed during the interim to bring the ideas 
into proper form. 

The magistrates of that session, Pynchon and Smyth of 
Springfield having withdrawn, were: Ludlow and Phelps of 
Windsor, as in the first court ; John Haynes and Thomas Welles 
of Hartford, Matthew Mitchell and John Plumb of Wethersfield. 
Committees were Thomas Ford, George Hull, Thomas Marshall, 


John Mason, Windsor; Edward Hopkins, John Steele, John Tal- 
cott, John Webster, Hartford; John Gibbs, George Hubbard, 
Thomas Raynor, Andrew Ward, Wethersfield. Four of Hart- 
ford's six became governors, and one the secretary and one the 
treasurer of the colony. Other prominent inhabitants were 
within the little church — the second that was built — where the 
sessions were held. 

The original Constitution was a simple document to meet 
simple needs. The preamble said the "inhabitants" and "resi- 
dents" desired to establish an orderly and decent government 
according to God and conjoined to be as one commonwealth — no 
royal or other superior authority recognized — for maintaining 
the liberty and purity of the gospel, the discipline of the churches 
and the orderly conduct of civil affairs according to law. Electors 
should be all who had been admitted as freemen and had taken 
the oath of fidelity. There were to be two "General Assemblies 
or Courts" annually, one in April for election and one in Septem- 
ber. Magistrates and "other public officers as shall be found 
requisite" should be elected by majority on ballot, one of whom 
should be the governor and six be magistrates, no new magistrate 
to be elected who had not been nominated at the preceding court, 
and the court should have power to increase the number. The 
governor should be a "member of some approved congregation" 
and formerly a magistrate, and was not to be chosen two years 
in succession. The several towns should send deputies who, after 
the elections, should participate in the business of the court. 

The illustration of throttled rights in an England without a 
parliament being still before them, it was provided that in case 
of need the governor and magistrates could call special sessions 
voluntarily or on petition of a majority; if they disregarded a 
petition, the freemen should take full control, electing a 

The deputies were to be elected by ballot in public assembly 
in each town, "three or four, more or less, being the number 
agreed upon to be chosen for that time." Windsor, Hartford and 
Wethersfield should send four to each court, and those which 
later would be added as many as the court should say (a "reason- 
able proportion") . Deputies could assemble before court sessions 
to discuss matters of importance and to decide whether their own 
elections were legal. 


The court should be the "supreme power," in legislation, 
admitting freemen, disposing "of lands undisposed of, to several 
towns or persons," and to whatever common public welfare 
required except elect magistrates. The governor or moderator 
must "give liberty of speech and silence unseasonable and disor- 
derly speaking" and have the deciding vote in cases of tie. When 
a money levy had been agreed upon, a committee of equal number 
from each town fixed the proportion. 

There was no provision for amendment and, later, changes 
were made by legislative acts; hence it was not a "constitution" 
in its strictest modern sense, but it was the first approach to 
such and served the purpose. The occasional sweeping criticism 
that this was not a democracy because it required qualifications 
for electors is as true of the government today as it was then. 

As Hon. Simeon E. Baldwin has said, "Historians generally 
concede that this was the first written constitution of representa- 
tive government ordained by men." Analysis and comparison 
with a few kindred documents confirm this. A government com- 
pilation entitled "The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial 
Charters and other Organic Laws of the States, Territories and 
Colonies," published under the editorship of Francis Newton 
Thorpe as a House document in the congressional session of 1909, 
gives the "ordinance and constitution of the treasurer, council 
and company in England for a council of state and general assem- 
bly" in Virginia, dated July 24, 1621, which recognizes royal 
power; Virginia's first assembly had been convened by the royal 
governor, Yeardley, in 1618, supposedly (the document is lost) 
under instructions from the Virginia Company in England sim- 
ilar to those in the later ordinance of 1621, making America's 
first legislative assembly. This is not a constitution of represen- 
tative government of and by the people, recognizing no higher 
human power; on the contrary, noteworthy as it is in American 
history as the first of its kind, it is under permission and by direc- 
tion of a higher power in England. Connecticut is unique in 
never having had a royal governor. The Constitution did not 
have to be changed in character when American independence 
was declared. Howard Lee McBain, another authority who has 
made the study of the history of constitutions and government his 
special study, says in his book "Government and Politics in Vir- 
ginia," published in Richmond, Va., in 1922, that the "first con- 


stitution of Virginia" was adopted in 1776, — meaning a consti- 
tution of representative government. 

Edward Channing of Harvard, a profound historian, voices 
the same sentiment as did P. G. Palfrey before him when, in his 
history of the United States published in 1905, he says of the 
Fundamental Orders that they "enjoy the distinction of being the 
first written political constitution in which the functions of gov- 
ernment are formulated in detail." He finds only the Pilgrims' 
compact on the Mayflower for comparison and says of that: "The 
earlier Pilgrim compact and the fundamental laws of the Rhode 
Island towns were rather in the nature of social compacts and 
followed closely the phraseology of the church covenants of that 
time. The Connecticut orders, on the other hand, are phrased 
like the later constitutions and have their rise in legal and not in 
ecclesiastical precedents." 

Other judgments are : "Green's History of the English People" 
— "The eleven Fundamental Orders of Connecticut with their 
preamble present the first example in history of a written con- 
stitution." Historian John Fiske — "The government of the 
United States today is in lineal descent more nearly related to that 
of Connecticut than to any other of the thirteen colonies." Prof. 
Alexander Johnston — "The birthplace of American Democracy 
is Hartford." 

(Special emphasis has been laid upon this because of a ten- 
dency of the age to disregard established facts in history. This 
is illustrated by a circular published in magazines this year of 
1928 and sent to schools and colleges for aid of students who shall 
enter an essay contest arranged by a syndicate of newspapers 
on the subject of constitutions. The documents when studied 
leave no room for disagreement; each has its particular merit. 
Governor — and former Chief Justice — Baldwin said further: 
"It is the glory of Connecticut that she made for herself the first 
real constitution, in the modern sense, known to mankind.") 

It has been shown that the Constitution was a development. 
The methods of the plantation form of government had been car- 
ried forward. A notable change was in this, that hereafter there 
would be suffrage qualification. There still was no requirement 
of church membership, as in Massachusetts and New Haven, but 
towns must be established and the only qualified voters were 


those who had been "admitted" and who took the oath of fidelity. 
Therein was one of the fundamental principles of the present 
day. Obviously the first step for the inhabitants was to gain the 
necessary status. The power to "admit," later shared by the 
towns, rested with the court alone. February 18 it held a special 
session and it would appear that many, including those who 
served as magistrates and deputies, were sworn early. The first 
election was on April 11, 1639, when John Haynes (lately gov- 
ernor in Massachusetts) was elected governor; Roger Ludlow 
deputy governor, and George Wyllys, Edward Hopkins, Thomas 
Welles, John Webster and William Phelps magistrates, together 
with twelve representatives or deputies, four from each town. 
All were freemen who had the certificate of the majority of the 
deputies of each town and the approval of the General Court. In 
reality, the town records show, the deputies had been elected as 
"committees" as by the old style, it not yet having been possible 
to organize the towns. 

Then the Constitution spoke of "laws" but there was no code. 
Such must be prepared, and Wyllys, Webster (ancestor of the 
great lexicographer) and Spencer were appointed to prepare it, 
examining the former "orders and laws" and delivering for man- 
uscript publication in the towns those of "public concernment." 
They must be read publicly each year. Towns were given power 
to dispose of their own undisposed-of land "and all other com- 
modities arising out of their own limits bounded out by the 
court." Then the Original Proprietors were organized. 

Town organization commanded early attention. As already 
told, Hartford had elected townsmen and also a registrar who 
had to be reelected in October because it was not till then that 
the General Court, acting under the Constitution, directed that 
there be such an officer or clerk in each town. Spencer died and 
was succeeded by John Steele in April following. At Hartford's 
first town meeting, December 26, 1639, Edward Hopkins, Thomas 
Welles, John Steele and John Talcott were chosen to assist the 
townsmen. In Windsor, Bray Rosseter was chosen town clerk 
(or registrar) in 1640 and the plantation probably had had no 
townsmen, its whole town organization dating from the adoption 
of the Constitution. Mr. Hills, Mr. Gaylord, Thomas Ford, Bray 
Rosseter, Thomas Thornton, Henry Wolcott and John Moore 
were chosen to look after the affairs of the town in 1642, Mr. Hill 


to be moderator. The Wethersfield records are incomplete. 
Matthew Mitchell was the first town clerk. The constables and 
townsmen were elected annually; the other officers were survey- 
ors, herdsmen, fence-viewers, chimney-viewers and the like. 

Power also was given to establish town courts. Henceforth 
the plantations were formally towns. And in 1640 the General 
Court suggested methods for plantations and provided that when 
plantations came to be "at charge to maintain officers within 
themselves, then other considerations may be had by the court." 
"Under the original Fundamental Orders, under the charter and 
under the Constitution of 1818," said the eminent lawyer Henry 
C. Robinson, "the towns have had no power except as it was 
given them by the organic law of the General Court." 

The last order of the court in October recognized the value of 
history and of censored publicity for it was to the effect that 
certain men work individually and together to bring to the court 
any remarkable instances of God's providence from the begin- 
ning of the settlements and the court would cause to be recorded 
all that should be judged worthy, after they had been censored 
and edited. 

The court organized a particular court of magistrates, meet- 
ing more frequently than the General Court and less formal. In 
1647 it consisted of the governor, deputy-governor and two mag- 
istrates, and cases could be submitted to a jury of six or twelve. 
Minor cases could be tried in town courts before three, five or six 
townsmen. The statutes were not printed till 1673; after that, 
every household was required to have a copy. 

Under appointment from the General Court, Ludlow com- 
pleted his historic code in 1650, and received for his four years' 
hard work £6. Of the seventy-three articles, fourteen were from 
the Massachusetts Body of Liberties. In 1854, fifty-eight of his 
titles were still in use. One of the foundation stones — what has 
been called the colony's Magna Charta — was the Bill of Rights 
containing the provision that no man could be deprived of his 
rights, privileges or belongings except by law, or, if the law 
were defective, by the word of God. The Legislature was su- 
preme even over the judiciary, but eventually the courts estab- 
lished their power to pass on the constitutionality of the laws. 

Offenses punishable by death were idolatry, witchcraft, blas- 
phemy, murder, bestiality, adultery, rape, kidnapping, perjury, 


rebellion against parents, burglary and theft on third indictment, 
and arson endangering life. The gallows were used for purposes 
besides execution. Culprits were sometimes sentenced to sit on 
the platform with a noose around their necks. For burglary 
first offense, the culprit was branded with a capital "B" and an 
ear was nailed to a board and cut off, after which ten stripes 
were given on the naked back; for the second offense, the other 
ear was cut off, twenty-five stripes were administered and an- 
other "B" was branded, and for third offense, hanging. The num- 
ber of capital crimes was very much less than in England. Sit- 
ting in stocks near the church and "riding the wooden horse" (a 
rough rail) in Meeting-house Yard were forms of publicity in- 
tended to have a salutary effect. Especially severe were the pen- 
alties for offense against the Sabbath and for malicious gossip 
and lying. The court formulated grounds for divorce before 
divorces were granted in any country; the causes enumerated in 
the revision of 1677 were much like those of today. 

Ludlow, the so-called "father of Connecticut jurisprudence," 
had seen the fertile fields of Fairfield when on the expedition 
to overtake the remnants of the Pequots, and after he had been 
chosen to only second position in the colony — Haynes winning 
first position over him as he had done in Massachusetts — he took 
Windsor and other people with him in 1640 to make a settlement 
in Fairfield, removing his residence thither somewhat later. In 
1654, after completing his code, he was censured by New Haven 
for having utilized the Indians in trying to stand off the 
approaches of the Dutch into this territory, which territory New 
Haven laid claim to. Provoked with the New Haven attitude, 
he went to Virginia to see his brother and then to England where 
he was made lieutenant-general in Cromwell's forces, and eventu- 
ally to Dublin as commissioner for administration of justice. 
Cromwell was seeking to have conditions in Ireland such that 
Puritans would be drawn there. This period of the law-giver's 
life is shrouded in mystery. He died in Michan's parish about 




The daily life of these pioneers, their endeavor to adhere to 
English principles in dividing the unbroken soil and their adapta- 
tion of English law to wilderness conditions were not materially 
different from those of other pioneers, but inasmuch as world- 
wide attention is drawn to them as government builders, what- 
ever reveals their character and general method is of value. As 
a group of high type and with comparatively few servants, they 
are worthy of study. There were fifty or sixty families, number- 
ing in all about 250 souls. 

The land they acquired by the original deed, from Wethers- 
field to Windsor, extended westerly six miles. At request of 
Haynes and other magistrates this territory was enlarged to run 
as far west as Sequassen's country extended, an agreement being 
made with Sachem Pethus of the Tunxis Indians that a tract in 
present Farmington be reserved for his tribe or group. All three 
of the towns bought on the east side of the river "into the wild- 
erness," meaning to the uncertain boundary of the Mohegans, but 
not including all the land of the Podunks in East Hartford and 
South Windsor. When the deed was confirmed by Sequassen's 
heirs, including his sister Wawarme, in 1670, the proprietors were 
taxed to pay the surviving Indians the value of their holdings in 
the South Meadow. 

The first church they built was about at the corner of Central 
Row and Prospect Street. The minister's first house was about 
where the plant of the Taylor & Fenn Company is now located, on 
Arch Street, south of the rear part of the Hunt Memorial land. 
A lane led from the house to the church. Rev. Samuel Stone's 
house was just across this lane from Mr. Hooker's, on land now 
occupied in part by the Municipal building and the Times build- 
ing. The lane extended southeasterly from the church corner. 


7— VOL. 1 


Prospect Street was not laid out till 1788. State Street, an orig- 
inal highway, extended only to Front Street, not being extended 
to the river till 1800. The accompanying maps of Dr. Love and 
Engineer Porter show the locations of the individual settlers. 

All title till the Revolution was nominally feudal, subject to 
the title of the Crown. The commons were divided by drawing 
numbers, usually by the proprietors or their heirs. Large ox pas- 
tures were owned by the proprietors or their heirs but the town 
appointed herdsmen. On the east side of the Connecticut, the 
entire section from Main Street, East Hartford, to the original 
line, laid out in 1641, was allotted to the proprietors in 1666 as- 
one tier. 

The north and south lines of Meeting-house Yard were back 
some fifty feet from where they now are, even almost to present 
Grove Street and to Kinsley Street. The second meeting-house, 
begun in 1638, was near this line a rod or so west of the first one. 
About fifty feet square, it had a truncated pyramidal roof sur- 
mounted by a tower and turret, and with galleries, according to 
the best type of the day. It was in this that the Constitution was 
adopted, though the costly building was not completed till 1641. 
In April a bell from Cambridge was added. The second floor was 
used as an arsenal, later as the court chamber and then by the 
magistrates only, after the General Court was fully organized. 
The sittings were arranged, as in all churches, according to the 
social standing of the church members, and at the doors guards 
were posted. The stocks were in the yard in front. The bury- 
ing ground was just beyond, but soon to be abandoned for the 
one where the society's present edifice stands. The former meet- 
ing-house was removed to Mr. Hooker's lot where he utilized it as 
a barn. He also was provided with a new residence with an upper 
story, the front part of which included an extension over the 
front door for his study. 

The branches of Little (Park) River were Hog River from 
the southwest and Wood's River from the northwest. To the 
southwest of their junction was Rocky Ridge, now surmounted 
by Trinity College. A town common where hogs were raised 
was on the west side of Hog River and an ox pasture south of 
Farmington Avenue to Little River, that part of it along Forest 
Street coming to be known as Nook Farm because of the north- 
erly bend of Little River after the two branches joined, thereby 


making the nook. Across Wood's River was Ridge Field and 
north of that another town common, extending to the West Divi- 
sion (West Hartford) boundary. North of Farmington Avenue 
were a pasture and swamps. A. L. Washburn locates the first 
gallows near the corner of present Albany Avenue and Garden 
Street. Kiln Brook, which was to take its name from the first 
brick kilns — later called Gully Brook and now covered over — 
flowed from the north across present Garden Street by the pres- 
ent railroad station, through Aliyn's swamp to Little River near 
the present stepping stones. 

The western territory was apportioned in 1638 among twenty 
of the original grantees, a total of 500 acres. One portion of the 
southwest division west of Sigourney Street went to John Haynes 
of which 100 acres were sold to his son, Rev. Joseph Haynes, in- 
cluding the Nook Farm. This descended to his son, Judge John 
Haynes, and in 1713, on the death of the judge, was inventoried 
at £100. Descendants of the Haynes family today have a resi- 
dence in the Nook Farm section. 

Before these apportionments were made, the original proprie- 
tors had come together to determine who among the legal "inhab- 
itants" had the rights of proprietors in the original land — 
whether those who had shared in the taxation or only the stock- 
holders in the settlement undertaking. Not all the early settlers 
were technically proprietors nor yet all the "inhabitants;" having 
arrived later, these others received their grants "by courtesy." 
It was necessary to work out a new method of preserving land 
records since these men were the first owners to hold, distribute 
and devise. Title must be established in some way hitherto un- 
known to the Englishmen. Hence the law that each owner make 
public record. The land was allotted according to agreement 
entered in the town book January 13, 1639 (O. S.). From 160 
acres to John Haynes, the individual amounts ran down to six 
for William Pratt and others. 

The first step toward establishing a town farm for the poor 
was taken in March, 1640, when twenty acres were set apart for 
the purpose east of the river. The town had been very careful to 
guard against impecunious strangers. In 1636 the heads of fam- 
ilies were forbidden to entertain newcomers without the consent 
of the selectmen. No unmarried men without a servant could 
keep house except by permission. In 1639 anyone entertaining a 


stranger without consent of the selectmen became liable for any 
cost or trouble to the town. Among those coming from England 
were not a few who were attracted by the trading possibilities, 
and not meeting with success they became dependents. The head 
of every family was held strictly responsible for the conduct of 
everyone under his roof. By 1667 the Assembly voted to prohibit 
the entertaining of strangers and anyone ordered away and not 
obeying became subject to fine and corporal punishment, because 
of "unjust disturbance" made by certain newcomers. The pur- 
pose was to prevent public charges. Until 1773 the court alone 
decided all differences relative to strangers and to providing for 
the poor; that year it passed the whole matter over to the towns 
to decide and to bear the burden. 

With this same intent to prevent brawling and to check pov- 
erty, local and colonial regulations of traffic in liquor were 
adopted. Complaints had multiplied till in 1647 the court pro- 
hibited anyone's drinking in a public house for more than half an 
hour, nor could "strong water" be sold to anyone outside without 
written permission. Restrictive legislation was useless. In 1654 
the court greatly lamented the disgrace and danger drunkenness 
was bringing upon the colony. All selling or giving to Indians 
was forbidden and a universal high price was set on sales to any- 
one. The Ludlow code forbade "licensed persons" to suffer pat- 
rons to drink to excess, "viz., above one-half pint of wyne for one 
person at one time," to drink more than half an hour or after 
nine in the evening. Travelers were excepted. When David 
Porter of Hartford was drowned, the bill paid included expenses 
for recovery and burial of the body, including liquor for those 
who dived for him, for those who brought him home and for the 
jury of inquest. Eight gallons and three quarts of wine and a 
barrel of cider were bought for the funeral. His winding sheet 
and coffin cost 30 shillings, but the liquors cost more than twice 
that sum. Like funeral methods were continued until well into 
the nineteenth century in certain localities and then there was 
protest against so inhospitable reformation. One old gentleman 
is quoted as having lamented that "temperance had done for 
funerals." In 1654 the court ordered that the excessively per- 
nicious rum that was coming in from the West Indies be con- 
fiscated. And in general, the whole category of prohibitions was 
exhausted — in those days a century before the clergy themselves 


drank at installations and everyone drank on training days. In 
1727 the General Assembly in a resolution deplored the "ruina- 
tion and debauchery" but continued that upon consideration of 
"a memorial of the Reverend Trustees of Yale College," it was 
granted that the "impost income from Rhum for a year be for 
the use, benefit and support of the College." 

Founders of the world's "Insurance City," they had an eye to 
fire prevention. In each house, under inspection of one detailed 
for that purpose, a fireplace was almost a room unto itself, walled 
in and ceiled with stone cleverly hewn by hands that had known 
no such toil at home. A little later on, after one or two frights, 
chimney sweeps were appointed and every house must have a 
bucket and a ladder, just as each householder must have fire- 
arms and powder. 

The remedy for such peril suggested by the Indians was that 
they cease to build houses but instead live in wigwams. To this 
the settlers were as deaf as they were to instructions the natives 
gave in the use of the stone mortar and pestle for crushing the 
corn the natives had taught them to raise. "Mass production" 
was as much the cry then as it is today. The energetic but not 
always smooth-tempered Matthew Allyn opened the way for Con- 
necticut industries by building a saw and grist mill in 1636 on 
Kiln Brook near its junction with Little River, and his name was 
given to an island near that point. After nine years Allyn had 
a falling-out with the church, removed to Windsor and there 
bought the original Plymouth property. One of his descendants 
gave the Corning fountain which stands about where Allyn's 
Island was, now a part of Bushnell Park. Before leaving, Allyn 
had supplemented his mill with another at the low falls near pres- 
ent Hudson Street. Parts of the dam he built, over which the 
water flowed for many generations of mills, down to Daniels' of 
modern times, were found when the park board cleared up the 
stream recently. And by vote a bridge twelve feet wide was 
thrown across the river, in Allyn's time, below the dam and near 
the palisade, at a point which was to become the mercantile 
center. When in 1656 greater facilities were required, the town 
voted for a new mill there and combined with Edward Hopkins, 


general benefactor, to build one, the cost to be borne by the inhab- 
itants according to their proprietary interest in the mills — shares 
to pass by deed or will and the mills to be run by a committee. 
In 1819, after the shares had been bought up and passed on to 
various individuals, they became (Ira) Todd's Mills and included 
a clothiers' and carding mill. A finishing mill, conducted by 
Reuben Wadsworth and James Taylor, located on the south bank, 
was bought by Todd. Part interest in this he sold to Leonard 
Daniels who by 1838 had acquired interests owned by others, 
except that which had been bequeathed by William Stanley to the 
South Church. 

The only rival of this section as a mill center in the seven- 
teenth century was the mill a short distance above Allyn's mill, 
near where the State Armory is now. It was built by John 
Allen and John Bidwell in 1681 for grinding and sawing. Main- 
tained and enlarged by successive owners it acquired the name 
of Imlay's Mills from William H. Imlay, who owned the plant 
in 1820. 

Hardly second in importance to meal and lumber were bricks. 
Most of the early towns of the county found that the soil was well 
adapted for the making of them. For a long time there was no 
better place for the manufacture than on Kiln Brook, north of 
the present railroad station and not far from Allyn's mill. The 
land was swampy and the little stream was an aid. Individuals 
went there and made their brick as others would go into the for- 
est and cut their wood. In 1685 the court gave Evan Davy right 
to establish a kiln in the highway southwest of where the Capitol 
stands and near the site of John Allen's mill. There was a swale 
at that point both sides of the stream, with a brook running in 
from the south. 

Forest and stream were teeming with the best kind of food, 
but few of the Englishmen knew much about hunting or fishing. 
They were dependent mostly upon the Indians for food of that 
kind and also for hides, the need of which was immediately ap- 
parent, since their clothing was ill adapted for frontier toil. The 
hides were made into trousers, jackets and caps and their value 
can be judged by the law providing for a fine in case the good 
wife's knife slipped when cutting to pattern. It is not to be won- 
dered at that in 1641 the General Court ordered that hemp and 
flax be planted by every family and also that cotton be imported. 


That was the same year that it was prescribed that all hides must 
be carefully cured and also that no calves should be slaughtered 
without consent of the town officials. Another twenty years and 
there were public inspectors of woollen yarn in each town, and, 
what is more, the price to be paid weavers for yarn was fixed. 
Then cotton was mixed with the yarn. Fulling mills began to 
spring up along many streams later in the century. One of the 
largest of them was in Burnside, owned by William Pitkin. 

It being easier to travel by sea than by land, seamanship soon 
developed and with it traffic with neighboring colonies and the 
remote Indies. Imports included the new American thing, to- 
bacco, and that created an evil almost as reprehensible as rum. 
One of the early enactments prohibited the "drinking" of tobacco 
except that grown within the "liberties." There is difference of 
opinion as to the meaning of the words thus used, while the list 
of substitutes for Jamaica rum after it was tabooed has not been 
revealed. Previously it had been ordered that young people 
should not use tobacco and the length of time one could smoke 
was limited. In 1647 the age limit was fixed at twenty except 
when doctors furnished a certificate. No smoking was allowed 
on the roads or in the fields unless one were on a journey of at 
least forty miles. One could smoke at dinner, not more than 
once a day and then not in company with anyone unless the other 

Doctors' certificates were not easy to obtain. Rev. Samuel 
Stone was not the only one who lamented the lack of medical 
advisers. No one could practice without a permit from the Gen- 
eral Court; from its inception Connecticut has been watchful 
over the public health. The first doctor was Bray Rosseter of 
Windsor, admitted in 1636, and it was to him that Mr. Stone had 
to go in 1656. Hartford paid the bill of £10 for "pissick." The 
next year Mr. Stone made it a condition of his returning from 
Boston to Hartford that an able physician be engaged to settle 
there, if it were possible to get one. Not that Dr. Rosseter was 
not a capable man; he was magistrate and town clerk and he 
performed the first autopsy ever recorded in New England, but 
he was too far away. By the records it would appear that Hart- 
ford had an official physician in the person of Dr. Thomas Lord 
who in 1652 had been licensed and had been given a schedule of 
fees he could charge in addition to the bonus of £15 a year from 


the county. The fees were: For visits in Hartford, 12 pence; in 
Windsor, 5 shillings; in Wethersfield, 3 shillings, and in Farm- 
ington, 6 shillings. He died in Wethersfield in 1662. Governor 
John Winthrop, Jr., himself was a physician of parts but he gave 
more time to affairs of state than to medicine. 

The great shipping industry which was to develop began with 
the action of the General Court in 1642 when it authorized the 
river towns to cooperate in building a ship, probably at Hartford. 
The next mention of a ship is in 1649 when the court authorized 
Samuel Smith and other owners to get enough pipestaves, or 
barrel staves, from outside the town to freight "the ship" on its 
first voyage. The ship was probably built by Thomas Deming of 
Wethersfield who had been granted privileges at the cove in that 
town where ship-building was carried on till recent years. The 
name of his ship was the Tryall. The traffic in pipestaves was 
most profitable for many years for all the towns. While England 
was the best market for the noble masts the county could fur- 
nish, the West Indies was the best for the staves; they were 
exchanged for hogsheads of molasses and sugar and for some 
ports rum. 

The increasing traffic likewise brought in luxuries and finer- 
ies of which the women long had been deprived. Soon it came 
about that the court was obliged to take cognizance of the com- 
plaint from the different towns or churches; women were com- 
ing to meeting in apparel that was scandalous; from outward 
appearances it was difficult to distinguish those in the back pews 
from those entitled to sit farther forward. "Sad stuff" was the 
chief material for gowns. One woman wrote to a friend : "She 
have 3 pieces of stuff but I think there is one you would like for 
yourself. It is pretty sad stuff but it have a thread of white in 
it." Legislation restored the equilibrium. Now and then a 
Negro appeared as a servant in the families of the well-to-do, 
having been bought in the Indies or in southern ports. Seats in 
the church gallery were reserved for them. 

Foreign trade was beginning to bring strangers whose char- 
acter had not been molded in the same way that the original con- 
gregation's had been. The first "Americanization" by those who 
so recently had originated that name had to be severe. There 
were no precedents or societies, no psychological, humanitarian, 
or other data to guide. Under a patent for "lords and gentle- 


men," their one rule had been admission by authorities who ex- 
amined applicants as to their honorable intent, their inclination 
to work and their regard for the Bible, the book only recently 
available for the people. From the beginning to the present the 
publishers have reported that book the "best seller," but that 
earliest period cannot be excepted — one must judge — from the 
general statement that it is not the best read and comprehended. 
New England was proceeding to lay the foundations of its repu- 
tation for making laws, by the people, and then compelling sub- 
mission to them by all who would remain within the gates. 

The stocks, the wooden horse and sitting on the gallows plat- 
form had been sufficient corrective till the new element came in 
with indiscriminate trade and the need for more workers and 
extension of colony bounds. To apply a stronger arm for law, 
the General Court in 1640 ordered the building of a house of cor- 
rection. It was located in the Meeting-house Yard near the cor- 
ner of present State and Market streets, twenty-four feet by six- 
teen, with a cellar and dungeon. Some of the prisoners worked 
to maintain themselves and provided their own furnishings. 
Criminals from all parts of the colony were confined there; those 
who were to be executed were taken to Gallows Hill, or Rocky 
Hill, near where Trinity College is located. The percentage of 
ordinary offenders and criminals could not have been excessive, 
for there was no enlargement of the building till 1664 or after the 
colony came to include the whole present state. When the re- 
formatory methods began to develop early in the next century, 
the General Court voted for a colony workhouse for "rogues, 
vagabonds, sturdy beggars, and other lewd, idle, dissolute, pro- 
fane and disorderly persons." This included rebellious children 
and slanderers. The penalty for slander always was severe. 

The workhouse was built in 1727 at the southwest corner of 
Pearl and Trumbull streets, where the inmates immediately be- 
gan to complain that punishment was excessive because the build- 
ing was "so retired and in back part of the town, so seldom fre- 
quented by any inhabitants." It was not self-supporting and 
therefore in 1742 Hartford County was directed to transfer its 
inmates to the jail. There they remained till the workhouse plan 
was revived in 1750, one building in each county. The former 
building was brought into service again, a new jail was built on 
the south part of the lot and the old one was sold. A yard was 


built around the whole when British prisoners were confined 
there in 1776. In 1792 a new county jail was built on the same 
site. On the upper floors was a tavern, called "City Hall," for 
paying-inmates, and also rooms for committee meetings. In 
1836 this building was sold to Case, Tiffany and Company who in 
1866 replaced it with their large building for printing and bind- 
ing, now in turn torn down after the present Case, Lockwood and 
Brainard Company has erected another new building adjoining 
on the south. The new jail, built in 1837 at a point on Pearl 
Street (No. 60 then) a little to the west of the old site, was occu- 
pied till the present structure on Seyms Street was built in 1874. 

Reference has been made to the watchfulness of the church, 
natural enough when we keep in mind why these settlers took 
desperate chances and came to America. The often criticised 
regulations were more liberal than in any other colony. A man 
had the suffrage whether or no he was a church member. And 
yet there were certain stipulations he must observe or these 
prison doors would yawn for him. Of course he had no vote in 
church matters, but he must pay tax for the support of the 
church. The minister's stipend must be paid; neglect of that 
aroused the General Court, as is illustrated in the history of 
Simsbury, given elsewhere. There were fines for not attending 
church, — 3 shillings for absence from regular services, 5 shillings 
for absence from service on fasting days and for thanksgiving. 
Nor could one attend any but the regular church under penalty 
of a fine of £5, and civil authorities must see to it that all churches 
were regular. There were church services most of the day Sun- 
days and a service on Tuesday, which likewise was the day for 
punishment in the stocks, when the culprits might be seen by all. 

Along this line of church influence and church support may 
be found the reason for the now much discussed distinction of 
New England for the number of its towns and villages so near 
together, and for the exceptional proportion of descendants who 
have remained on the original soil. It is plainly written in the 
real history of every one of Hartford County's towns. These 
settlers were accustomed to short distances and anything but 
rocky, forest trails. When inspired by an ideal, 300 of them 
could march 150 miles from Boston to Hartford; they were 
averse to walking or riding three miles to church on Sunday — 
and, let us add, under legal compulsion. Their idea of the neces- 


sary size of a farm was in reverse ratio. A hundred acres was 
none too much; consequently there were many in every settle- 
ment who would travel out into the forest a few miles, acquire 
title on small payment to proprietors or Indians, and soon, over 
an area of a few hundred acres, there would be another settle- 
ment. In would come a petition to the General Court for "winter 
privileges," or the right to hold services somewhere in their 
neighborhood through the severe winter months, their leader to 
be such as the parent church should designate, if there was no one 
among themselves. In time there would be application to form a 
church and build, thereby saving travel the year around. Only 
on approval of the parent society was this granted. The choice 
of a site must be satisfactory to the court. If the settlers them- 
selves were fully agreed, decision by the court was a matter of 
form. But the chances were that the dozen or fifteen adventur- 
ers were of different minds. Oddly enough the site usually 
selected was on the top of a hill; the tapering spires of old New 
England churches today stand out like so many liberty poles and 
add to the country's charm. It is prehistoric to set a temple on 
a hill. Disagreement over what would be the real center as the 
community grew started feuds that might last lifetimes. A spe- 
cial committee of the General Court — usually headed by Wor- 
shipful John Talcott in Hartford County — was kept busy decid- 
ing these disputes. Frequently it was necessary to bring the full 
power of the court into action before building could begin at the 
site designated. 

Obviously newcomers would wish to build within reasonable 
distance of the church — a literally "established" church. Then 
yielding to some motive or other, perhaps the result of his own 
explorations, a man would venture beyond the convenient radius, 
and the whole process from "winter privileges" on to full town- 
hood would be repeated. Towns thus made were dear to the 
descendants who made them; they might not be commercially 
profitable; many traveled to western homes, but, as the eminent 
Washington statistician, Ales Hrdlicka, has commented, a record 
of devotion to ancestral belongings has been established, both by 
those who never went away and by those who have been away 
and have returned. Evidence of this in town records, on the 
muster rolls of all the wars and in the names one hears today is 
abundant. Therein is a tribute and an enviable asset. 


These people whom the world would know more about than 
it does were not gregarious. Nothing is more false to history 
than the old-time conception of the "solemn-visaged Puritan." 
The visages handed down to us have usually been those of elderly 
men well worn out by their exhausting pioneer experiences; occa- 
sionally we have one of the younger type, and the expression is 
far different. They were intensely sociable and hospitable, let 
their protective laws be what they would — and they compare 
most favorably with those of any other peoples of that century. 
If there was an excuse for getting together, as at a fair, on a 
training day or an election day, or at a house-raising, and they 
could satisfy their consciences that it was all a part of the ''day's 
work," they would get up long before daybreak and travel rough 
miles, horse-back or afoot, to improve it. 

It was in the early '40s, when Hartford had a bell-ringer and 
town crier who an hour before sunrise patrolled the streets and 
everybody must be up and have a light fifteen minutes after this 
warning, just as everybody must be ready to go to bed when the 
curfew bell sounded at 9 o'clock, — it was in as early days as that 
that the court authorized public market on Wednesdays, for all 
manner of commodities that could be brought in and for cattle 
and general merchandise. For years after that, such market was 
maintained at the southeast corner of Meeting-house Yard. It is 
conspicuous in our picture of the yard in 1820. Two years later 
the plan of two fairs a year, in May and September, was inaug- 
urated by the same paternal court. They furnished the excuse 
for everybody to come to Hartford. 

This was more than a part of the day's work; it was more 
profitable than the work of many days — perhaps the profit of a 
whole season. Originally it was a matter of barter and exchange. 
Beaver skins were the most valuable commodity. Monopoly of 
trade with Indians was given to certain men in each settlement 
in order to secure more orderly trade and greater stability of 
price, and moreover there could be better accounting with the 
representatives of the patentees who bought the original permis- 
sion to locate here. What with barter, and with only wampum 
and skins for currency and with uncertainty as to what articles 
and especially what colors would most appeal to the savages, it 
was essential that there be cooperative buying and selling. Fur- 
ther, the opportunity was offered to dispose of the many home- 

(From Barber's "Historical Cc llections") 


(From an old-time engraving) 


View from Main Street. Left: Statehouse, the Hartford Hotel, paint 
shop and the public market. Right: Central Row, front corner 
Museum and Times Building, branch of United States Bank, Univer- 
salist Church (practically the site of Connecticut's earliest church 
building), grocery and dwelling, at corner of "Ministers' Lane," now 

Prospect Street. 


made articles in exchange for a season's supply of household 

Edward Hopkins and William Whiting were among the earli- 
est to whom monopoly in skins and corn was granted. A good 
hoe could bring them a supply of corn equal to one family's re- 
quirement for two months, at the end of which time a fresh order 
of hoes could arrive from England. A bright red bit of raiment 
or a crude toilet article would rate much higher in Indian barter 
than shoes or coats or other necessities of civilization. The pur- 
chasing power of a torn lace frill in Hartford, Conn., was as 
great as that of a £10 note in Hertford, England. The frill trans- 
muted into a beaver skin and the skin into a few bales of gay 
ribbons and beads, the round of profit was begun. 

The largest estate inventoried up to 1647 was that of William 
Whiting. In addition to interests in England, Pistaquay, Va., 
Waranoke and Long Island, he had at home: In wampum, 
£39,105; ammunition, £7, 10 shillings; 2 racoon coats, 1 wolf -skin 
coat; 4 bear skins; 3 moose skins; beaver, moose and wampum, 
£250; hoes, hatchets, shoes, nails, pins, paper, bottles, brass ladles, 
brushes, bells, thimbles, boxes, knives, scissors, combs, jewsharps, 
brass kettles and the like; in dry-goods, shag cotton, stockings, 
hollands, twenty-five yards of green tammy and 13 pieces of 
duffles. His house and lands in Hartford were worth £400, and 
property in Windsor, £300. Total inventory, £42,854. 

Training days were no less important than fair days. John 
Adams counted them among the factors which made New Eng- 
land. It gave the men their only opportunity for coming together 
without thought of business or routine work — but, in those days 
preceding a century of wars, not without a very definite purpose, 
which purpose was literal and direct protection of home. The 
rank of commissioned officer was one of the highest honors. 
From the first year, as has been noted, there had been guns and 
ammunition in every house and frequent drilling, by specific com- 
mand of the General Court. After the war Mason was made 
commander-in-chief for the colony with rank of major. The fed- 
eral Government, in its records, dates the beginning of the pres- 
ent military establishment from the law of 1739 when the militia 
of all the state was organized into regiments and brigades. 
Organization was perfected in 1637 and the only war in the state 
was won ; all after that was a development. 

8— VOL. 1 


The code of 1650 formally provided for military affairs. All 
men between the ages of 16 and 66 must keep in a state of pre- 
paredness and must train each month except in winter-time. 
After 1654, there was general muster every other year. There 
were pikemen wearing padded corselets as protection against 
arrows, and musketeers. In 1680 there were 835 trained infan- 
trymen and sixty horsemen. On training days, after morning 
inspections and the afternoon reviews, the ladies entertained 
most hospitably. Every house was thrown open. The only mu- 
sical instruments allowed were drums, fifes, trumpets and jews- 
harps. Nothing was known of dancing, cards, bowls, shuffle- 
boards and theatricals. On election days and at house-raisings, 
the social functions were much the same. And as time went on 
there were picnics in the summer, husking-bees in the fall and 
straw rides and quilting parties in the winter. 

What with the strict regulations on entertaining strangers 
without permission, the General Court was in duty bound to 
encourage inns. In 1644 it decreed that each town should have 
such a place for the accommodation of travelers, and at about 
the same time it forsook the church as a sessions chamber and 
met at an inn recently opened at the southwest corner of State 
and Front streets by Deputy Thomas Ford of Windsor, the first 
inn in the colony. In 1661 Jeremy Addams had a house and lot of 
about three acres on Main Street which had been a part of the 
original property of John Steele. That year he mortgaged it to 
the colony and was permitted to make an "ordinary" of it on con- 
dition that he keep it up well. The license was perpetual and 
irrevocable. From that time for fifty years the General Court 
had special quarters there. In addition to the regulations pre- 
viously mentioned for the sale of "strong water," he must be 
assiduous in attention to any guest. 

"He was not to challenge a lordlie authority over him, 
but clean otherwise, since any man may use the inne as his 
owne house, and have for monie how great and how little 
varietie of vittels and what other service himselfe shall think 
expedient to call for, and have clean sheets to lie in wherein 
no man had been lodged since they came from the landresse, 
and have a servante to kindle his fire and one to pull on his 
boots and make them clean, and have the hoste and hostess 
to visit him, and to eat with the hoste, or at a common table 
if he pleases, or eat in his chamber, commanding what meat 


he will according to his appetite. Yea, the kitchen being 
open to him to order the meat to be dressed as he liketh it 


In 1680 Addams surrendered the property to satisfy the mort- 
gage, yet arrangement was made so that two years later he trans- 
ferred all his rights, by "turf and twig," to his son-in-law Zach- 
ary Sanford. At Adams' death in 1685 the colony formally sold 
the inn to Sanford, the court continuing to sit there. When San- 
ford died in 1713 it passed to his daughter Sarah, wife of Jona- 
than Bunce. Mr. Bunce dying in 1717, the property passed to 
Samuel Flagg, husband of Sarah Bunce, who in 1733 replaced it 
by the famous Black Horse Tavern, nearer the present street 
line, for fifty years the most celebrated hostlery in the county, or 
until Mr. Flagg's death and the dedication of the wonderful 
Bunch of Grapes Tavern, kept for many years by the redoubt- 
able tory David Bull near the present corner of Main and Asylum 
streets. Capt. John Chevenard, Flagg's son-in-law, inherited the 
property which remained in his family till sold for the site of the 
Universalist Church in 1859, from which society the Travelers 
Insurance Company bought it in 1905 for the site of the first of 
its series of massive buildings. There was significance in the 
name of the new owner of the spot once set apart for travelers. 
On Mr. Bunce's death the court removed to Caleb Williamson's 
new tavern which was on the site of the Travelers' old building 
on Prospect Street, later the property of Oliver Wolcott, Jr., sec- 
retary of the treasury under Washington and Adams and after- 
ward governor. 




It is said truly that the whole history of Connecticut is the 
history of representative government. This distinction is em- 
phasized again in the organizing of the United Colonies of New 
England. Action which had been interrupted by the Pequot war 
and the boundary dispute was completed September 7, 1643, 
when the representatives of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecti- 
cut and New Haven signed articles of agreement. The document, 
though differing in some fundamentals due to its earlier date, 
and in its seventeenth-century religious cast, is strikingly sug- 
gestive of the confederation of the United States in 1781. It was 
the first pact of the sort in America. Each colony retained its 
autonomy, on Hooker's suggestion and against the idea of 
Winthrop of Massachusetts, and was to be represented by two 

Provisions were that a three-fourths vote was enough to settle 
all "affairs of war and peace leagues" and apportion contribu- 
tions of men and supplies; if three-fourths were not obtainable, 
there should be reference to the respective legislatures; there 
also should be purpose to maintain peace and justice between col- 
onies and towards the Indians. If any colony violated the agree- 
ment, the extent of offense and remedy should be determined by 
the others. Saybrook was represented at the meetings that 
adopted the articles, Colonel Fenwick being present as a Con- 
necticut commissioner. It probably was understood that before 
the next annual session that prospective colony would pass to 
Connecticut by purchase of Warwick Patent rights. The price 
paid was £1,600. 



The Hamilton rights were a peculiar incident, entirely 
ignored till years afterward. Before the surrendering of pat- 
ents to the King, the lords composing the Council of Plymouth 
determined to divide the seacoast of New England among them- 
selves. The division in 1635 absorbed nearly all the previous 
grants. The portion allotted to the Marquis of Hamilton was 
sixty miles square, extending along the shore from the Narra- 
gansett River to the mouth of the Connecticut and thence north- 
ward. Seven weeks after that the council went out of existence. 
Owing to the excitements in England, nothing was done under 
this grant. The claim was not revived till after the granting of 
the Connecticut charter in 1662. Connecticut maintained that 
the claim was valueless originally and was now outlawed. And 
such was the decision of the King and council in 1697. 

Two items in the purchase of the Warwick Patent subjected 
Massachusetts and Connecticut to wranglings which were to con- 
tinue through long years. One was the recognition of the War- 
wick boundary which brought Springfield and Waranoke (West- 
field) within the Connecticut line, and the other was that for ten 
years Fenwick should have a right to collect an export duty on 
certain articles that came down the river. As has been told, the 
Bay Colony never had accepted the Warwick line, which ran a 
little south of present Worcester; Connecticut insisted on "War- 
ronoco" and Springfield. In 1642 Massachusetts had sent two 
amateur surveyors to run the line, Woodward and Saffery. Their 
line included everything down to Windsor, embracing territory 
where Pynchon had been promoting settlements, and altogether 
what now constitutes thirteen townships. The Congress of the 
colonies sustained the Springfield contention pending proof, and 
decided likewise the next year as to duties. It was the same in 
the next three annual congresses — Plymouth and New Haven 
conducting the hearings as disinterested parties. Massachusetts 
called for the original patent. Connecticut had only a verified 
copy, the originals not to be found. Embarrassment ensued. It 
finally was ordered to produce the copy the following year and 
also to take steps toward a settlement, always acting in a "way 
of peace and love." Massachusetts maintained that she had fixed 
the boundary long before, on understanding with Fenwick, but 
would go over it again if Connecticut would pay the bill. Con- 
necticut would consent to pay but half. 


Thus they haggled along till the next century. There were 
threats of appeal to the King and Council but fear of disaster to 
both deterred. In 1713 a line was agreed upon by which Massa- 
chusetts retained jurisdiction over towns which it had planted, 
with their original bounds intact, and the line ran between Wind- 
sor and Suffield until the Revolution, though never acceptable to 
the immediate residents. For compensation to Connecticut, 
Massachusetts gave 105,793 acres of untaken land in present 
Pelham, Belchertown and Ware, which Connecticut sold at about 
2 cents an acre and gave Yale £500 of the £683 received. Sims- 
bury (Granby) and Westfield kept their old boundaries but Suf- 
field received a strip a mile wide between these two. Suffield 
men were disappointed not only because they saw such an un- 
gainly jog to the westward but because they believed the moun- 
tains retained by Simsbury (as obtained under its original grant 
from Connecticut) were rich in copper ore. Massachusetts hear- 
ing this complaint agreed in 1732 to let them have the present 
town of Southwick six miles square as an equivalent to what they 
had been granted originally by Massachusetts. Christopher J. 
Lawton bought it of them for a song. The bounds on the Sims- 
bury (Granby) side were reestablished later on. As to the north- 
ern line, the portion of Westfield running down into Connecticut 
and lying between a mountain toward the east and the Conga- 
muck ponds was given to Springfield; the remainder, including 
the chief part of the ponds (now Southwick), to Westfield. 
A Southwick boundary commission was sent in 1793 to settle a 
dispute over this, dating from 1774. Massachusetts wanted the 
whole of the section as compensation for towns she had lost. In 
1803-4 a compromise was effected by which Connecticut held a 
slice of Southwick and Massachusetts the land west of the ponds. 
"Rising's Notch" was thereafter to worry every schoolboy draw- 
ing his map of the New England states and to remain forever as 
a conspicuous memorial of disagreement between mother and 
daughter colonies. There is further reminder today in the con- 
flict between state fishing laws at the point where the boundary 
line cuts the ponds. 

To go back to the main issue : It early appeared obvious that 
by the compromise of 1713 Connecticut had yielded too much, for 
Enfield, Suffield and Woodstock, in which were many supposedly 
Connecticut people, were above the line as established. At length 


Enfield helped precipitate matters when she openly rebelled 
against taxation in two colonies and elected Capt. Eliphalet Pease 
and Capt. Elijah Williams representatives to the Connecticut 
General Assembly in 1749. Suffield, led by Capt. Phineas Lyman, 
was doing likewise. Arguments proving ineffective, Connecticut 
finally received the representatives and assumed jurisdiction, 
but Massachusetts persisted till 1804, to the great confusion of 
local government and with the argument that she had paid for 
this territory when she gave Connecticut the "equivalent" 
land to sell. 

In retaliation for the Saybrook duties, Massachusetts threat- 
ened to levy a tax on exports from Boston but yielded to protests 
from other colonies, and the Saybrook collections ceased. 

Particularly was the colony Congress to act upon matters re- 
lating to the Indians. Since the Pequot war Uncas had reigned 
supreme along the Thames River and other chieftains were jeal- 
ous. When a Narragansett in 1643 hurled a knife at him and 
wounded him near the heart, he reported to the Massachusetts 
authorities, in accord with the stipulations of the treaty of 1638 
that Indians bring all matters of disagreement to the white men. 
Miantonomoh was ordered to appear with the accused. After 
decision that the man be turned over to Uncas, the stalwart Mi- 
antonomoh, who hitherto had been greatly respected by the white 
men, obtained permission to take the prisoner to his home first 
and then killed him on the way. Soon afterward Uncas and a 
small party of Mohegans were attacked and one was killed by fol- 
lowers of Sequassen who was a relative of Miantonomoh's. On 
Uncas' appeal to the magistrates at Hartford, he was told that 
since the white men were not especially concerned, Uncas could 
handle the situation himself. Thereupon Uncas attacked Se- 
quin's village in the South Meadows, as that section had come to 
be designated, killed seven, wounded others and burned wigwams. 

The enraged Miantonomoh now appeared before Governor 
Haynes, who assured him that no encouragement would be given 
the Mohegans and again said it was not a white men's affair. 
From their intimate knowledge of the red men the authorities 
must have apprehended that there always would be quarrels 
among them but no serious outbreak. An appeal to the Massa- 


chusetts governor brought similar response. Word came to the 
English that Miantonomoh had resolved to take revenge upon 
both the Mohegans and the whites and Connecticut asked, but in 
vain, that Massachusetts send reinforcements to Saybrook. Mi- 
antonomoh started on the war path with 600 braves. Uncas was 
ready near present Norwich with 400 Mohegans. He called 
Miantonomoh for a parley at which he proposed that they two 
fight it out alone. Upon Miantonomoh's scorning the proposi- 
tion, Uncas gave a signal, his followers rushed upon the enemy 
and drove them from the field. Weighted down with an armor a 
white man had given him, Miantonomoh was overtaken and 
brought to Uncas. By Indian custom and by the decision of the 
whites that they would not interfere, Uncas could kill the Narra- 
gansett, but instead, influenced by a letter he had seen from a 
white man, he brought his prisoner before the magistrates in 
Hartford. Their conclusion was that it was a case for the new 
colony Congress to consider. During the months preceding the 
annual session in September, Uncas kept the haughty leader 
under guard in pursuance of Miantonomoh's own request. Un- 
doubtedly the Podunk fort in East Hartford was the place of im- 
prisonment. The congress could not agree that death penalty 
should be inflicted but before rendering decision sought the opin- 
ion of a committee of clergymen who were attending a synod at 
that time. This committee of five saw in the evidence that Mian- 
tonomoh had designs against the white men as well as against 
Uncas and found that by rules of justice and the word of the 
Bible he should be put to death. Sentence was withheld till the 
representatives at the session could reach home in safety, the 
forests then teeming with friends of the powerful chieftain. 

According to the records of the Congress, Uncas was directed 
to take the prisoner "to the next part of his (Uncas's) own gov- 
ernment and there put him to death." Although in compara- 
tively recent years a monument was erected near Norwich, in 
Sachem's Field, to mark the place of execution, it may be doubted 
that Uncas ventured to conduct his captive so far through wild 
territory which it was believed was infested with hostiles. The 
records show an addition to Governor Winthrop's report, read- 
ing, "And that the Indians might know that the English did ap- 
prove it, they sent twelve or fourteen musketeers home with 
Onkus to abide a time with him for his defense, if need should 


be." Some may not consider it probable that the English would 
have exposed their men to attack and also would have taken the 
chances of bringing on another war by sending them so far. In 
fact only four musketeers accompanied the Indians. Podunk 
fort was as much Uncas's "home" as was any other locality; his 
preference always had been to be near the chief seat of the white 
men at Hartford. To quote further from the ancient record: 
As soon as Uncas and his party were "in the next part of his own 
government" Uncas's brother stole up behind Miantonomoh and 
cleaved his head with a hatchet. 

Sequassen later was betrayed by a New Haven Indian he was 
said to have hired to assassinate Governor Haynes and others and 
fled, but was permitted to return in 1650. 

The colonial Congress was not distinctively successful in 
handling Indian affairs, for reasons which research does not re- 
veal. The colonists themselves made effort to civilize them and 
to teach their children, but Farmington was the only town where 
there was a measure of success. Roger Williams of Rhode 
Island, their most faithful friend, called them the "dregs of 
mankind. . . . There is no fear of God before their eyes, and all 
the cords that ever bound the barbarians to foreigners were made 
of self and covetousness." John Eliot, the great "apostle to the 
Indians," while attending a church council in Hartford, is said 
to have preached to the Podunks in their own language. To his 
appeal to accept Christianity, the story has it, they replied 
fiercely that the whites had taken their land and now wished to 
make servants of them. The Indians' conception of a land sale 
seemed to be, as Major Mason expressed it in the great suit in 
later years concerning ownership of Mohegan lands which had 
been made over to him by Uncas's heirs and which he had trans- 
ferred to the colony, was that they disposed of the right to fish 
and hunt on the land but never gave possession of the soil. 

Twelve years after the historic Miantonomoh tragedy, a Po- 
dunk Indian killed one of Sequassen's sachems and one-eyed Tan- 
tinomo, then ruler of the Podunks, refused to give up the mur- 
derer. Sequassen called in Uncas who had had similar and vari- 
ous complaints against Tantinomo and, pursuant to the earlier 
agreements, Uncas went to the General Court with it, saying that 
Sequassen wanted ten Podunks in satisfaction and that the Po- 
dunks had offered only wampum. Sequassen would compromise 


on six men, but the court was wearied and bade them limit the 
requirement to only one man and finally to depart in peace and 
keep it, leastwise on the west side of the river, and under no 
condition to harm the white men's property. Uncas became will- 
ing to accept the murderer without the others. 

Tantinomo agreed but instead of delivering the man assem- 
bled his followers at Fort Hill (in East Hartford). Uncas 
marched against him with his Mohegans. Finding the position 
too strong, he sent word that he would bring on the much dreaded 
Mohawks. This terrified the Connecticut Indians. To add to the 
terror, a Podunk lodge was burned and Mohawk weapons were 
found near by. The Podunks sued for peace, gave up the mur- 
derer and Uncas's prestige was increased. 

Incidentally the court's commissioners, when they learned 
that the Podunks were leaving their homes, "ordered" that Un- 
cas permit them to return and that the Podunks cease all hostili- 
ties. Peace prevailed till 1666 when Arramamet of Windsor, 
whose sway extended over the Podunks, accused Uncas of tres- 
passing on his far hunting grounds, and both parties went to 
court. The outcome was an elaborate pledge of friendship 
signed by all the sachems and a more distinct agreement upon 
boundary lines. And, further, incidentally, a little later Arra- 
mamet gave his daughter in marriage to Uncas's third son with 
a dowry of many acres, entailed so that the property would go 
down to his daughter's children. Then at his death it was discov- 
ered that he had willed the land to his sons and the rest of his 
holdings to his wives. 

Affairs with the Dutch first came before the United Colonies 
in 1641. They were referred to the International commission of 
which Rev. Hugh Peters was chairman. The English had begun 
cultivating land close up to the Dutchmen's, and seemingly be- 
yond it, since it is recorded that Governor Haynes said it seemed 
a pity to see good soil going to waste. The Dutch who had not 
planted much of the ground previously, became equally ambi- 
tious and the two sides clashed, rather to the disadvantage of the 
minority. Mr. Peters, who was sent to England, could not get 
far in negotiations with Holland because his authority was not 


recognized across the channel. Governor Kieft ordered fifty sol- 
diers to sail from New Amsterdam to protect the House of Hope, 
but Indians attacked them as they were about to sail and the ex- 
pedition had to be given up. The Congress of the federation rec- 
ommended that Hartford allow the Dutch something in excess of 
the thirty acres that had been stipulated. 

In 1650 Peter Stuyvesant had succeeded Kieft as governor. 
On his representation commissioners of the four colonies met at 
Hartford that year and reviewed all the documents thoroughly. 
It was at this time it was revealed that the Dutch deed from the 
Indians had been lost, but the story of the purchase was given in 
full. The courteous Stuyvesant who thus had suggested the first 
international arbitrament in lieu of recourse to arms was 
thought by contemporaneous writers in both Holland and Eng- 
land to have been somewhat imposed upon. The main ground of 
complaint was not the Hartford House of Hope but the right of 
New Haven to claim rights to the west and south of Greenwich. 
New Haven had been settled in 1638 under the old 1620 patent 
for all New England, which included the territory from Phila- 
delphia to Canada, and she had reached as far as Greenwich, she 
believed, in her purchases from the Indians. The Dutch resented 
her trading posts in Maryland and attacked her shipping. The 
arbitrators selected were all Englishmen, two of them named by 
Stuyvesant. Their investigations were thorough and fair, but 
their conclusions were somewhat indefinite. 

In their opinion the troubles had been stirred up by the late 
Governor Kieft who, they found, was of a bellicose disposition. 
They listened respectfully to the Dutch West India Company's 
claim to all the territory covered by the English patent up to the 
Connecticut River and then decided that there should be a 
boundary line running between Greenwich and Stamford and 
through Long Island from Oyster Bay southward. As to Hart- 
ford, there was evidence that the Dutch had conducted them- 
selves in a lewd and unseemly manner, much to the grievance of 
the colonists, but it was admitted that they should hold their 
thirty acres at the House of Hope, the English to have the rest of 
the land. The treaty which Stuyvesant thus negotiated was rati- 
fied by the Dutch government in 1656, but many things had hap- 
pened before that. 

The Dutch of New Amsterdam had instigated more trouble 


for New Haven. They had caused Indian outbreaks in the 
Greenwich section, had made more attacks upon the shipping and 
in general had forced New Haven in 1653 to take action under 
the terms of the federation and ask that arms be resorted to by 
the English. Massachusetts alone had voted against it. Con- 
necticut and Plymouth so warmly supported New Haven that 
the federation was on the point of breaking when New Haven's 
appeal to Cromwell resulted in his sending a fleet in 1654, where- 
upon Massachusetts coldly consented to the principle but with 
the mental reservation that she herself would send no soldiers. 
The timely victory of England over Holland in the war they had 
been waging made strife in America unnecessary. New Amster- 
dam was to become New York, and trouble-makers of English 
blood were to appear there as the years went by. 

An incident of the war was the commissioning of Captain 
Underhill by the Providence Plantation to proceed against the 
Dutch and his coming to Hartford where he posted on the door 
of the House of Hope a placard declaring that he had seized it 
and its land in the name of England. His assertion later was 
that he had acted with the permission of the General Court then 
in session in Hartford, but the court disallowed this in 1654 and 
sequestered the property three days before peace was declared. 
By the terms of the peace the English retained possession. There 
may have been some truth in UnderhilPs assertion for later the 
colony had claim only to the site of the fort while Underhill sold 
the "bouwerie" and adjoining land to Richard Lord and William 
Gibbons, and the fort site the court sold to John Gilbert. At the 
time of Underbill's sale the court, replying to his petition for re- 
dress, said it would maintain its own seizure "till more appears," 
that there was no warrant for Underbill's seizure and that it 
would not allow or approve of his selling. The entries of the sales 
are on the town records. 

In 1852 the burial ground of the Dutch, to the west of the 
fort, was accidentally uncovered. Two years later Col. Samuel 
Colt built the great dike for the protection of his factory prop- 
erty and in reclaiming the property, named the streets after 
prominent ones among both the Indians and the Dutch. In 1918 
the Hartford Electric Light Company, previously having ac- 
quired Dutch Point (north of Park River) for the site of one 


plant, bought the fort site for a still greater station and in so 
doing set aside a piece of land on Vandyke Avenue a hundred 
feet away as a site for a memorial, not yet utilized. As will be 
seen later, the city is now about to build a longer dike for re- 
claiming more of the South Meadows, last village of the Sequins, 
and improving the city's aviation field. 

It being concluded that the Congress of the United Colonies 
was no further needed the last annual session was held in 1664, 
but in 1670 new articles were drawn up. Power in time of war 
was delegated to the legislatures, and the chief debates were on 
the question of apportionment of troops and supplies. The real 
way to make one out of many had not yet been found. 




A major problem was education. The severity of this for col- 
onists of this type cannot be over-stressed, though often it is 
wholly lost sight of in the analysis of conditions. Again it should 
be recalled that the majority of these river-town people, who in 
their stubbornness — if you will — had gone forth into the more 
distant wilderness, had come from long-established comfortable 
homes in England where they had been well nurtured and also 
well educated according to a tradition there already old. Here 
new tradition must be created, and there was little with which to 
create. They were different from any other class of pioneers 
who had come from any country to a new country, then or ever 
in the world's history. Regard for learning was innate, a sine 
qua non. Good private libraries had been left behind — there was 
only here and there a book some one had clung to, and the popular 
new book, the understandable version of the Bible. The Bible, 
whether or no, had to be the rock of the educational foundation. 
It may have been well for the cultural future of the colonies that 
this was so; for it was to continue the foundation rock for Eng- 
lish literature through the ages. 

John Higginson, later chaplain at Saybrook Fort down- 
river, son of the prominent Rev. Francis Higginson of 
Salem whose widow had lands allotted to her in Hartford, was 
a teacher in the year 1637-8, pressed into service by the eager 
desire of the over-busy settlers. He was succeeded by Rev. Wil- 
liam Collins from the Barbadoes, who had come to Salem in 1636 
and was one of the first settlers in Hartford, though he had no 
house lot. He was "established" in 1640. Land which he ac- 
quired he sold on his removal to Guilford the next year where he 



was colleague of Rev. Henry Whitefield whose daughter he mar- 
ried. Subsequently he joined the heretical movement of Anne 
Hutchinson and was murdered with her and her family by the 
Indians near Greenwich at the time when certain of the Dutch 
were encouraging border warfare. 

In 1642 an appropriation of £30 a year was voted to the school 
from the scanty treasury. While up to that time there had been 
teaching in church and in private homes, now a building was 
erected at the present southwest corner of Sheldon and Governor 
streets, near an already famous oak which the Indians had asked 
the settlers to spare because of their traditions. The building 
was called the "town house" because within it were stored guns 
and ammunition, as in the church. William Andrews, a con- 
stable in Newtown and an original proprietor in Hartford, was 
chosen by the people in 1643 to "teach in the school," where six- 
teen pupils assembled. Continuing till his health failed in 1656, 
he was the first real teacher. He also was town clerk from 1651 
to 1658, the year preceding his death. The position of Mr. 
Hooker himself was hardly more important than his. He intro- 
duced the horn-book and the song method of reciting. At home 
as well as at school the little ones were trained in the catechism 
with examination by the church leaders every Sunday. The Ten 
Commandments were recited faithfully, and never a thought of 
the questions concerning them which would get into vogue 300 
years later. Meantime there were private schools for the young- 
est. Widow Mary Betts conducted such an one at her home near 
the foot of Trumbull Street on the bank of Little River. 

Governor Edward Hopkins early displayed that interest 
which was to count so much for this and other towns. In 1649 
he was instrumental in putting through town meeting a vote for 
£40 to be raised by tax to go toward building a new school, pro- 
vided "any other shall make such an addition to the sum that 
the work may be carried on and finished," the building to be 
wholly for a grammar school like that which Mr. Andrews was 
conducting. The existing house, near Mr. Hopkins' residence, 
was inconvenient and uncomfortable. At the time there was no 
result from this unless one counts Mr. Hopkins' increasing inter- 
est a result, and it was a great one. 

Altogether Hartford was doing its best when the Ludlow code 
of 1650 directed that every town of fifty householders appoint a 


teacher in reading and writing and every town of a hundred a 
grammar school to prepare youths for the college at Cambridge 
(old Newtown) which had been endowed with £700 by Rev. John 
Harvard. The idea as expressed was "to provide that learning 
may not be buried with the fathers in church and commonwealth" 
and contributions were made for the maintenance of those who 
had not sufficient means of their own. Both study and pulpit in 
the little church were available for the more progressive stu- 
dents; Doctor Barnard has said that that church may well be re- 
garded as the first theological seminary in Connecticut. 

In 1652 the town voted £20 for the erection of "the" school- 
house and soon after added £40, all to be expended under the 
direction of Elder William Goodwin. He and Governor Hopkins 
had in mind a certain lot on present Main Street between Little 
River and present Buckingham Street, but because of the ob- 
stinacy of one who had interest in it, the innkeeper, Jeremy Ad- 
ams, they were obliged to give it up. When in 1654 the town de- 
manded that something be done, Mr. Hopkins, the patron who had 
been looked to, had returned to England, the considerable sum 
he had thought to give had gone with him and Elder Goodwin 
was constrained to give back to the town what had been raised. 
Two years thereafter came the friction in the church, and school 
matters were temporarily lost sight of. The schoolhouse was 
ordered sold. John Talcott in 1659 provided in his will that £5 
be devoted to maintaining a Latin school, "if any be kept here." 
The next year William Pitkin came as teacher, in a private house 
and without town appropriation. Elder Goodwin and the other 
"withdrawers" from the church had gone to Hadley, Mass. It 
is a matter of record that pupils in the "grammar school" in- 
cluded those learning the alphabet and there were no public 
schools in Hartford except grammar schools during its first 
thirty years. 

Governor Hopkins, of notable antecedents, came to Boston 
and then to Hartford in 1637 as an original proprietor. He was 
elected deputy governor in 1639 and governor in 1640, after 
which he served alternately in those offices with John Haynes till 
he went back to England in 1652, having been named warden of 
Cromwell's fleet on the death of his uncle. When he died in 1657 
he left a fund in trust for "breeding of hopeful youths in a way 
of learning, both at the grammar school and college." For trus- 


tees he named Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport of New 
Haven and John Culick and William Goodwin of Hartford. 
Eaton was his father-in-law and was promoting a plan for a col- 
lege in New Haven. The General Court became absorbed in the 
church controversy in Hartford. When finally Goodwin, after 
the death of Eaton and Culick, offered the colony £350 for the 
Hartford school, it was refused and the large Hartford property 
of Hopkins was sequestrated, but the action eventually was re- 
scinded. This property in 1660 had been inventoried at £545, 
at which time it had been proposed to give half for a New Haven 
college and, since conditions in Hartford were adverse, part to 
the new plantation at Hadley and the balance to Harvard. After 
the sequestration had been removed, the trustees agreed upon 
£400 for Hartford and the remainder, including £500 of which 
Mrs. Hopkins was to have life use, to be divided between New 
Haven and Hadley, Harvard to receive £100 out of Hadley's 
share. And the trustees desired that the school in Hartford be 
located on the lot Mr. Goodwin and Mr. Hopkins had favored in 
1649. In reality the lot chosen was the second one west of the 
place where the first had stood. The committee also obtained the 
Hopkins farm of fifty-six acres in Hockanum together with Mr. 
Hopkins' rights in all future distribution of grants. 

Now a number of people desiring a Main Street location 
secured a vote in 1666 for land on the highway "abreast of the 
Adams lot" — or the one Governor Hopkins had desired. It could 
be had gratis, after the custom of putting a public building in a 
highway. Eventually the building was so relocated. The Hop- 
kins arms were hung on the walls. A town committee managed 
the school affairs. Tuition was free and the town paid part of 
the teacher's salary. Rev. Caleb Watson was the teacher from 
1673 to 1705. However, as this was the only public school and 
children of all ages attended, Governor Hopkins' purposes were 
not being fulfilled. Acts of the General Assembly in 1678 
strengthened the laws for lower-grade education and decreed in 
1690 a free school in New Haven and one in Hartford, the colony 
to aid the towns in eking out the necessary revenue; and all 
elementary schools, as distinct from the "free school," must be 
in session six months a year. The standard of admission to the 
free school was ability to read the psalter. 

The grammar school in Hartford now became the free school. 

9— VOL. 1 


It was then that the old building proved inadequate and the new 
building was erected in 1690 in the highway — as it then was — a 
little south of present Linden Place. In 1749 Thomas Seymour 
was given permission to move the building to twenty rods from 
Little River, thus giving him a driveway to a house he had built 
at the west end of what was to become Linden Place. The build- 
ing was small and the teachers were changed often. Prior to 
1760 the town had ceased to supervise schools in East Hartford 
and West Hartford divisions, they thereby losing the advantages 
of a grammar school, but they had schools of their own. In 1753 
the town had arranged to have two elementary schools in the two 
parishes, in accord with the law which required a school in every 
town of seventy householders. This took the elementary pupils 
from the grammar school. Then it was enacted that the income 
from lands and rents be given the committee for maintaining the 
grammar school "according to the proper use or uses of the orig- 
inal donation." 

The town in 1760 secured from the General Assembly formal 
permission to make two districts. Little River was the dividing 
line. While awaiting the decision, the First Church Society pro- 
prietors, in 1759, built their house, of brick, on the east side of 
the Meeting-house Yard. During the celebration of the repeal of 
the stamp act, in 1766, munitions stored in it were exploded, 
many were wounded and six prominent young men died of their 
injuries. In 1771, a brick house was built at the northeast cor- 
ner of the first burying ground. This was sold in 1814 and 
another was built near where the police headquarters building 
now stands. The South District built its house on South Green 
in 1769. The Second North District was set off in 1770; it built 
near the junction of Ann and Main streets. 

Meantime need of the grammar school had become pressing 
and a building was erected on a site given by Mrs. Abigail Wood- 
bridge, which is now covered by the east portion of the Municipal 
Building. The highway along Little River was named School 
Street, now Arch Street. Land grants by the General Assembly 
had increased income when, on representation of the districts, 
one-fourth of the school moneys was paid to the districts as 
against three-fourths to the grammar school. John Trumbull 
in 1798, by direction, secured the incorporation of the grammar 
school committee and the number of pupils was limited to forty 


boys. In 1808 the old school property was sold to Daniel Wads- 
worth and a building on the Seymour estate on Buckingham 
Street was taken and remodeled. Despite enlargement the struc- 
ture became inadequate. Enoch Perkins was given authority to 
erect a brick house fifty-two by thirty-eight feet, two stories, a 
little south of the south line of Linden Place, looking towards the 
Thomas Y. Seymour house, then known as the Welles homestead. 
The city recently had opened what is now Capitol Avenue, di- 
viding the lot. The next step in this the early history of the Hart- 
ford Public High School was the action of the trustees approving 
the plan of the First District in 1847 to unite for the purpose of 
maintaining a high school. 

As has been said, the cause of education was handicapped 
from the beginning. If it should be remarked that secondary 
schools in America did not begin to approach the standards of 
European countries till the middle of the nineteenth century, the 
existence of this handicap should not be forgotten, nor yet its 
continuance through the nearly two centuries of intermittent 
warfare in addition to pioneer building, to be followed by other 
distractions and other warfare of a more or less interrupting 
character up to the present. If it is replied that the European 
nations also suffered from war, the obvious answer is that they 
had a more solid foundation in the fundamentals of education 
and that such deterrents as have been mentioned are bound to 
have more effect in a newly created nation. 

Deprived of facilities, the decision of the first colonists here- 
abouts was that all children should learn something, and they 
were moving on well to the second step which, in the natural prog- 
ress of appreciation and will power, might have brought them 
even superiority, when those events occurred, within as well as 
outside their own circle, which hampered and delayed. For years 
they voiced their desire for higher standards but they lacked the 
power to attain them. In the nineteenth century there was still 
the desire for a little for the many ; it was not till the present cen- 
tury that there was a real awakening to the need of more quality 
along with the quantity — a more definite realization of what "ed- 
ucation," in homes, schools and colleges, must mean if this nation 
is going to hold its own. 

There are those in any body of civilized people who are bound 
to rise superior to handicap. What circumstances would put be- 


yond their reach, if given the right impetus they obtain; not all 
may be scholarly, but they succeed in applying and in transmit- 
ting their talents. Descendants of the founders of Hartford 
County are, to a remarkable degree, in this class. There are 
living instances of it today — names that have been prominent 
throughout the three centuries and names that were on the last 
honor rolls of war as they were on the first. In illustration a 
few families might be cited whose fame has gone beyond the old 
colony limits. John Webster, deputy governor and in 1656 gov- 
ernor, was the ancestor of Noah Webster. John Talcott, for 
many years colonial treasurer, was the father of Major John of 
King Philip's war and grandfather of Joseph, governor from 
1725 to 1741. William Edwards of Hartford was the ancestor 
of Rev. Timothy Edwards of Windsor (East Side), of Rev. Jona- 
than Edwards and of both President Dwight and President Wool- 
sey of Yale. Descendants of William Pitkin of Hartford included 
William, Ozias, Governor William and Colonel George. The an- 
cestor's sister was the wife of Simon Wolcott, and seven of their 
descendants were governors. Andrew Ward of Wethersfield was 
ancestor of Aaron Burr. Henry Wolcott of Windsor is said to 
have had more governors, statesmen and judges among his de- 
scendants than any of the founders ; the family roll of his great- 
granddaughter Ursula, who married Matthew Griswold of Lyme, 
alone includes twelve governors and thirty-four judges. Matthew 
Grant of Windsor was ancestor of Ulysses S. Grant. 


: ^>JvWi| 




While taking his place in history as the leader of his people to 
free government, Rev. Thomas Hooker was a stalwart in other 
ways. Of robust build, of energetic spirit and strong temper on 
occasion, and with power of invective as well as of exhortation, 
it would be easy to picture him as a romantic crusader in the 
days of such. In a period when adroitness was more effective 
than sword and buckler, a man who should be chosen head of a 
group like that which came to Newtown had to have other quali- 
ties than those of a pastor. He was the one particular preacher 
of that day for whom Archbishop Laud sent his minions. "Hook- 
er's party" kept on with their plans, and their faith that he 
would join them was confirmed. 

Not only did he inaugurate and put through the movements 
of three towns toward the Connecticut River, not only did he 
guide and direct the colonists in peace and war, but he was in 
demand wherever there was need of persuasive argument or 
calm judicial function. At times his strength was severely 
taxed. Governor Winthrop, the elder, with all his bits of sarcasm 
and sometimes sharp disagreement, admired the man; there are 
as many evidences of laudation as there are of criticism in his 
written comments. Of these one may be cited. At the time the 
federation of the colonies was under discussion in Boston, 
Hooker was called upon to deliver a sermon before a distin- 
guished audience in that town. Winthrop records that he had 
spoken with glowing eloquence for fifteen minutes when he sud- 
denly stopped and said God had deprived him of both "his 
strength and matter" and withdrew. In half an hour he returned 



to the platform and "went on to very good purpose about two 

In a summer of pestilence, 1647, he was stricken and after a 
few days of suffering died on July 7. He was only 61. He had 
lived to know of Laud's incarceration, in 1641, and of his execu- 
tion, in 1645 — to enjoy the success of his ecclesiastical theories 
and to witness the happy development of his design to secure 
government of and by the people. 

Mr. Hooker's children, many of whose descendants continue 
to live within a short radius of his first meeting-house, were: 
Johanna, wife of Rev. Thomas Shepard of Cambridge, who died 
the year before her father; Mary, wife of Rev. Roger Newton, 
Farmington's first minister and later at Milford where she died 
in 1676; Anne and Sarah who died in childhood in England; 
John, who in his father's will was forbidden "from tarrying in 
England" after he got his education at Oxford but who did tarry 
and became rector of Lechampsted before his death in 1684; 
Samuel, graduated at Harvard in 1653, a preacher at Plymouth, 
who married the daughter of Capt. Thomas Willet, afterward 
first mayor of New York, was ordained in Farmington in 1661 
and died there in 1697; and Sarah, wife of Rev. John Wilson of 
Medfield, Massachusetts. 

Rev. Jonathan Mitchell was invited to succeed Mr. Hooker 
in 1649. After him as a candidate came Michael Wigglesworth 
occasionally in 1653 and 1654, John Davis in 1655 and John Cot- 
ton, son of John Cotton of Boston and formerly of the "Hooker 
party," in 1659. Meantime Teacher Stone and Elder Goodwin 
were conducting the affairs of the church. These two, so useful 
under Hooker, had such a falling-out over the candidacy of Wig- 
glesworth, whom the elder favored, as nearly to disrupt the settle- 
ment. To Mr. "Stone's refusal to allow the society to vote on Mr. 
Wigglesworth, Goodwin took exception and started the breach. 
Mr. Stone sent in his resignation yet continued to discharge his 
functions and went so far as to have the church appoint a moder- 
ator, which in effect was the discharge of the ruling elder. Mr. 
Goodwin and his faction immediately withdrew. Ecclesiastical 
councils were held throughout New England, the Massachusetts 
churches appointed days of humiliation and prayer for Hartford, 
the interference of the General Court made matters worse, Mr. 



Stone went to Boston as though he would remain there whence 
he wrote letters, and finally a council held in Boston in 1659 de- 
cided that Elder Goodwin and party were doing nothing wrong 
in withdrawing to Hadley, Mass., — whither they were accompa- 
nied by a few Wethersfield people — and that Mr. Stone should 

The year following this settlement, Rev. John Whiting, who 
was born in England in 1635 but had come to America as a boy 
and had graduated at Harvard in 1653, was chosen for Mr. 
Stone's colleague. He was the son of Maj. William Whiting, one 
of the foremost men of the colony from its founding till his death 
in 1647. Mr. Stone died July 20, 1663. His epitaph calls him 
"New England's glory and her radiant crowne;" the last line 
reading : 

"Hartford, thy richest jewel 's here interred." 
He also was only 61. When Mr. Stone's first wife died in 1640 
Mr. Hooker wrote to Rev. Mr. Shepard that she "smoaked out 
her days in the darkness of melancholy." His son by her was 
graduated at Harvard and later received his degree at Cam- 
bridge, England. His son Samuel went to Harvard and after- 
wards was colleague of Rev. Gershom Bulkeley in Wethersfield, 
preached in Simsbury and Middletown, became dissipated, 
haunted Hartford taverns and in 1683 fell into Little River after 
a carouse and was drowned — according to Rev. Mr. Whiting's 
letter to Increase Mather. Mr. Stone's daughters married well. 

Again it should be kept in mind that no special incidents of 
the colonial days should be taken from their settings. The hand- 
ful of immigrants had not conquered the wilderness in the first 
twenty or sixty years. Life was drab. A new element was 
sought to help in the physical labors; there had to be a lowering 
of "admission" tests. Reference has been made to the strength- 
ening of the liquor laws and to the development of the house of 
correction. There were the beginnings of the evils which were 
to sweep the new Eldorado and constitute a problem of varied 
guise today. If there is any opportunity for comparison in mod- 
ern ages, it must be with the development of the western regions 
and California, somewhat to the advantage of the eastern sec- 


Intellectually and ecclesiastically, it should also be remem- 
bered, the original colonists had come to America for freedom of 
thought, and they intensively cultivated freedom of expression. 
The church convulsion which shook every town and hamlet in 
New England the latter half of their first century is as difficult 
to analyze correctly as certain of those today will be 300 years 
hence. The "Half-way Covenant" uprising can be set forth in 
volumes by theological writers when recurring to such excite- 
ment as there was in Hartford — and the same with the "New 
Lights" in the following century. For ordinary purposes of his- 
tory, however, the whole may be summed up this way : The old 
church conception was that those baptized in infancy could be- 
come church members when old enough to profess their faith and 
to be examined by the church officials. In 1650 to 1660 the idea 
spread that children of such members could be baptized — indeed, 
would be baptized — and then when older could be admitted to 
membership without the old formality; they could own the cov- 
enant without giving proof of baptism. To the conservatives 
this had the appearance of a political device originating in Mas- 
sachusetts where church membership was the qualification for 
suffrage, and there was surprise that such a notion could gain 
ground in free Connecticut. In 1664, the new conception had 
gained sufficient ground to warrant the General Assembly in 
urging its adoption by all the churches, though not all followed 
such respected advice. 

In the Hartford church, after the death of Mr. Stone, the son 
of another distinguished citizen, Gov. John Haynes, had been 
chosen to succeed him. Thomas Haynes only recently had grad- 
uated from Harvard — in 1658. He was imbued with the new 
idea and in 1666 advocated its adoption by the church. Rev. John 
Whiting, senior colleague, emphatically objected; it was a blow 
at pure Congregationalism and let down the bars to Presbyte- 
rianism while lowering the standards of membership. "Saints" 
should be "visible," and they could not be "visible" unless war- 
ranted in the old way. Doctor Walker expresses it: "Half-way 
Covenant was filling the churches with people sufficiently re- 
ligious to claim baptism for their children but not enough so to 
have or profess any experience of piety or to come to the Lord's 
supper." In other words, they had started well but they were in 
a state of education, free as to their future course, and therefore 


hardly congenial at communion with the "visible saints." More- 
over this must lead to government by synod instead of govern- 
ment by self, an unthinkable thing for the church of Thomas 
Hooker. So reasoned Rev. Mr. Haynes. But the younger Whit- 
ing was persistent and led his flock of thirty-one away with him, 
after the General Assembly, though by close vote, had decided in 
February, 1670, that the church might be divided. 

When the sharpness of this cleavage in the historic Hooker 
church is emphasized by many writers, one making a thorough 
study of the period can but recall the natural and then civic divi- 
sion between north and south sides of Little River, growing more 
noticeable every year, almost like two towns at the very begin- 
ning. "South" church instead of "Second" church has been the 
popular name of the new society ever since. It further can be 
remarked in this connection that an original church in any town 
frowned upon a division even for branches in remote places like 
East Hartford (from Hartford), since diminished membership 
meant decrease in indispensable revenue. Finally, it is to be 
noted that the Hooker church soon afterward accepted the half- 
way covenant principle. 

By the code of 1650 colonists were taxed from 1 penny to 3 
pence a pound for "encouragement of the ministry" but in 1677 
the towns had to support their own churches. It was expensive 
to change ministers, for when one was chosen he was allowed 
two years' salary to begin with so that he might establish his 
home. In 1668 the General Assembly passed its first Toleration 
Act when it granted that "sundry persons of worth for prudence 
and piety amongst us * * * may have allowance of their 
perswasion and profession in church wayes." Nevertheless the 
support of the ministry continued compulsory and fines were de- 
manded for absence from service. Repeated exhibition of the 
harm resulting from having every church disagreement brought 
to the General Assembly caused that body in 1708 to direct each 
of the forty-one churches to send representatives to a synod in 
Saybrook where the famous Saybrook Platform was adopted. 
Only twelve ministers and four laymen obeyed the call but their 
action was at once ratified by the Legislature, thereby creating a 
"government within a government," for there was to be a con- 
sociation or permanent organization, consisting of the minister 


and one delegate from each church "planted in a convenient 
vicinity." Disputes should there be settled in common com- 
munion. Delegates from all the consociations should meet annu- 
ally. In this was a suggestion of Presbyterianism and the word 
became interchangeable with Congregationalism for many years. 
Only churches united by this platform were "owned and acknowl- 
edged established by law." There were two consociations in 
Hartford County. As will be seen in some of the town histories, 
there were instances of contempt for the plan. Unquestionably 
it did create a better working system and as Rev. George L. 
Clark, historian, says, it "may have been the best possible de- 
vice to tide the churches over trying times." 

In establishing the platform the General Assembly specific- 
ally provided that all who "soberly" differed from the United 
Churches could worship in their own way, according to their con- 
sciences. This gave the Quakers, intolerable as they had made 
themselves in Massachusetts, the Episcopalians, the Baptists and 
even the troublous Rogerines of New London no cause for com- 
plaint to the English government which was threatening to send 
a governor for all New England. The "outlanders" were not 
welcome but, as in the case of the Quakers who sought persecu- 
tion, they were given fair hearing — twice in Hartford — and then 
urged to go elsewhere. Experience with bishops had left such a 
sting that toleration of Episcopalianism by the people was long 
in being brought about. The missionary priests out from New 
York were zealously encouraged from London and the taxation 
for Congregationalism aroused such ire over there that the Gen- 
eral Assembly provided that dissenters could form distinct or- 
ganization, as previously stated, provided they worked no injury 
to the established church. In 1727 this was followed by a law 
that in towns where there was an Episcopal church, those attend- 
ing it could pay their taxes to it; and altogether, rocky as was 
their path, they admit that it was less so in Connecticut than in 
any other colony. Their own energies resulted in 1784 in the 
consecration of the first bishop in America, Samuel Seabury, at 
Woodbury. Meanwhile concessions were being granted to vari- 
ous sects. 

The colonial law. for the support of ministers was framed at 
a time when only one church in a town was contemplated. Two 


years after the Second Church of Christ was established in Hart- 
ford an amendment went into effect by which people could con- 
tribute for the church they attended. After meeting in private 
dwellings, probably, the new society, being without power to hold 
real estate and not having a vote of the town for building, erected 
a structure on the unoccupied land of Lieut. Thomas Bull near 
the present southeast corner of Main and Sheldon streets near 
the schoolhouse which was in the highway. This had been com- 
pleted by 1673. During the next fifteen years ten members of 
the congregation made handsome bequests to the society, and it 
may be added that the generous disposition so early displayed is 
as much in evidence today as it was then. The building was fifty 
feet square, fashioned much like that of the parent society. 

The "town bell" served for both churches till it cracked in 
1725. It hung in the First Church belfry but it was felt that the 
repairs should be paid for by the town, that is by both societies. 
The question was complicated by the fact that both congrega- 
tions needed new houses, and the First Church suggested that 
they reunite. In the interim it was using a red flag as a signal 
in place of a bell. The Southsiders, now nearly equal in number 
and wealth, believed there could not be agreement on a convenient 
site. After eleven years of discussion, the First Church voted to 
build on the southeast corner of the burying ground, the present 
corner of Main and Gold streets. The vote was passed in 1734. 
It called for brick but wood was substituted. The building was 
sixty-six feet long, lengthwise with Main Street, and forty-six 
feet wide, the steeple on the north end, the doors at that end, at 
the south end and on the east side, the pulpit with its sounding- 
board on the west side. One "great alley" ran from the east door 
to the pulpit and another from the north to the south. Rev. Dan- 
iel Wadsworth preached his last sermon in the old church July 
31, 1737. Timbers from the honored structure were incorpo- 
rated in the new building and are said to form part of the present 
one. Services were held in the State House till the new building- 
was ready, December 30, 1739. 

It was ten years later that the Second Church voted to build. 
The General Court, still holding prerogative to that extent, chose 
a site in the highway which is now Buckingham Street. As the 
proposed edifice, the same size as that of the parent church, would 
practically fill the highway, and as the north side was under 


water in flood time, while a brook on the Main Street side would 
endanger the foundation, there was two years of hesitancy, then 
an appeal to the General Assembly, and finally an agreement 
reached for a site thirty feet east of the one indicated, two-thirds 
of the building to be in Main Street. Exterior and interior of 
the building, which was completed in 1754, closely resembled 
those of the First Church. The first sermon preached there was 
by Rev. George Whitefield, December 2, 1755. Rev. Elnathan 
Whitman was then pastor and continued as such for forty-five 
years. In 1762 the society received a deed to about four acres of 
land south of the church, given by Joseph Buckingham, son of 
Rev. Thomas Buckingham, former pastor to whom the society 
had conveyed the same in 1696. Both societies were to rebuild, 
as will be seen, on practically the same sites, and their continu- 
ing to occupy them is an important feature in Hartford's 

In the history of the progress of civilization there is nothing 
more anomalous than the horrors committed under authority of 
the Scriptures as interpreted. Other contestants for the literal 
interpretation of the Mosaic code have had to yield to the de- 
mand of humanity, but in no particular with greater gratifica- 
tion to their descendants than in this. And when condemnations 
are flung at the American colonies, it is well to recall that for 
300 years before the subject came up in the colonies there had 
been a fierce battle against those declared to be in collusion with 
Satan and that over 100,000 had been executed barbarously. For 
it is written in the Book of Exodus: "Thou shalt not suffer a 
witch to live." A century after the frightful craze on the Conti- 
nent, the mighty legal mind of Blackstone gave forth this opin- 
ion : "To deny the possibility, nay, actual evidence of witchcraft 
and sorcery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of 
God in various passages of the Old and New Testament." 

The horrors of Salem in Massachusetts are marveled at to- 
day. But they were in 1692. By that time the "craze" in Con- 
necticut had yielded to common sense considerations and juries 
no longer were accepting ridiculous testimony of neighbors 
against odd characters who had fallen under suspicion. The vie- 


tims themselves were of a class who made trouble or enjoyed sen- 
sation at whatever risk, and the witnesses were of the class of 
professional talebearers, all mentally upset by the excitement of 
the hour. In Connecticut between 1647 and 1690 when the 
furore ended, there were but nine executions, of which three 
probably were in Hartford where the colony prison was located. 
The first victim — and probably the first in New England — was 
Alse Young of Windsor in 1647. The records furnish no details. 
Of Mary Johnson's case in Wethersfield the next year, Cotton 
Mather in his "Magnalia," referring to her having given birth 
to a child while in prison, wrote : "She died in a frame of mind 
extremely to the satisfaction of them that were spectators of it." 
In 1653 John Carrington, a Wethersfield carpenter, and his wife 
were hanged. 

An illustration of how the evil spread is found in the instance 
of Ann Cole of Hartford and Wethersfield. She became relig- 
iously rabid and accused a neighbor who was sent to prison for 
a year and then removed to Rhode Island. Next to the Cole fam- 
ily lived Nathaniel Greensmith and his wife Rebecca. Rev. John 
Whiting wrote of the latter that she was of bad character. She 
caught the fever of confessing all the misdeeds accredited to 
witches and implicated her husband. In 1662 both were tried in 
Hartford. The two ministers, Haynes and Whiting, visited the 
woman in prison and sent her amazing confessions to John 
Mather who declared the evidence very convincing. Rev. Sam- 
uel Stone was deeply impressed with her accounts of how Satan 
appeared to her in various forms, as of a deer or fawn, and told 
her they would have "a merry meeting by Christmas;" her hus- 
band must be guilty because he brought in logs too large for a 
little man to handle. They were hanged in January, 1662, on 
Gallows Hill. 

A supposed victim was Mary Barnes of Farmington whose 
case followed closely those of the Greensmiths. The most pecu- 
liar case was that of the well-to-do Katherine Harrison of Weth- 
ersfield in May, 1669. Governor John Winthrop, Jr., William 
Leete and Maj. John Mason were of the court. It was the usual 
charge of "familiarity with Satan, the grand enemy of man- 
kind." She demanded a jury trial. When the jury disagreed, 
she was held for another trial in October. The testimony of the 
witnesses was wildly imaginative and grotesque, as it reads to 


us. She had appeared with the body of an animal ; she had tried 
to cut throats, to strangle, to break bones; she was a notorious 
liar and told fortunes. The jury having found her guilty, the 
magistrates advised with the ministers. Rev. Gershom Bulkeley 
of Wethersfield reported for them that whatever was beyond rea- 
son in the way of divination argued familiarity with Satan, "in- 
asmuch as such a person doth thereby declare his receiving the 
devilPs instrument to communicate the same to others." This 
accused made no confession; she fought back and petitioned for 
relief. Becoming enraged, without losing her reason, she abused 
Michael Griswold who forthwith won a £40 damage suit against 
her. Eventually the court decided upon a year in prison. The 
General Assembly refused to concur and commuted the sentence 
to removal from the community, for her good and her neighbors'. 
The people in a New York town in which she took up her abode 
besought the governor to secure her banishment but he refused 
and bade her go wherever she chose. 

A peculiar case is found in the manuscripts of President Ezra 
Stiles of Yale. In 1651, on the occasion of a military parade, 
Henry Stiles, eldest of the brothers who came to Windsor for 
SaltonstalPs proposed settlement in 1635, was killed by the acci- 
dental discharge of a gun in the hands of Thomas Allyn of Wind- 
sor. Allyn was fined £20 according to the records of the General 
Court, was put on probation for a year and was forbidden to 
bear arms during that time. At a Particular Court in 1654, 
Lydia Gilbert of Windsor was indicted for witchcraft and, among 
other things, for having caused Stiles' death. Stiles had been a 
bachelor and had boarded with Thomas Gilbert, a neighbor who 
was in his employ. Whether Lydia was the wife or daughter of 
Gilbert does not appear, but from the wording of the indictment 
it would seem that she had been a trouble-maker in her neigh- 
borhood and easily could fall a victim to those suffering from 
witchcraft hallucination. She was tried and convicted but there 
is no record of her execution. 




The method of the founders of 1635 in achieving their high 
purpose culminating in the Constitution was no less masterly, 
tested by the standards of whatever generation, than that of their 
successors in securing their charter from a restored monarchy in 
1662. The Congregational Church itself was no longer the all- 
embracing entity; it had been the nucleus for widely different 
and not always amenable elements, but it was standing the test 
of control during unprecedented experiences and was to continue 
to be the foundation of the government through many succeed- 
ing generations. In its efforts to adapt circumstances to itself, 
it was competent to detect its own errors, and, with population 
and territory increasing, w T as cautiously adapting itself to cir- 
cumstances without yielding its principles. The vote was still 
the freeman's, pledged to fealty; church-membership was not his 
test ; the government was in his hands, with the promoters of the 
system carefully guiding and instructing him (in those first 
days of experiment) ; and if his tax, willy nilly, went to help 
maintain churches, it was because the name of the Almighty and 
his Word were still keenly recognized in public and private af- 
fairs, and it was believed they always should be. There was this 
much hold-over from the experience of generations in the land of 
their birth. Therein is a feature ignored by modern critics who 
see in the change from the union of church and state in the 1800s 
a fierce rebellion and not a step in sequence — a step impelled by 
changing conditions, creeds and population, and approved or ac- 
quiesced in by men themselves descendants of the founders. 

The fundamental principle of the people's control, under 
guidance, had stood forth and had drawn much unto itself, on 


10— VOL. 1 


American soil, through England's stormy periods of no Parli- 
ment, of the Long Parliament, of the overthrow of monarchy and 
of the great Protectorate. Could it cope with the new monarchy 
that had been set up — with Charles II, the successor of the be- 
headed Charles I whose judges had found their refuge in this 
New England? Diverting thought for the moment from the 
much-described achievements, no imagination is too feeble to 
picture the actual qualms. None of the qualms were written into 
official records, either then or when a new political peril threat- 
ened with the next change in royal government. Outwardly and 
barring their correspondence, the founders were stoics; "pub- 
licity" was not to become the rule and requirement in affairs 
public or private for many years to come. As for the people, in 
their small communities, they knew and trusted their leaders 
from the outset, and on the advent of John Winthrop, Jr., to the 
governor's office, they had repealed their law prohibiting two 
terms in succession. After testing by means of alternative 
terms, they had concluded that, a man's fidelity attested, his 
experience was worth much to them. Similarly with the magis- 
trates, though would-be dispassionate writers in later years set 
forth that it was the system of balloting which compelled this. 

Hooker had been blunt in his determination but tactful and 
wise in his planning, a bold pioneer and a noble intellectual 
leader. Ludlow had been a jurist and a builder, though perhaps 
justifiably impatient at the last; Haynes, a gracious executive, 
with prestige; Mason, a stern captain of the guard. Their gen- 
eration was passing when the news came in 1659 that the Pro- 
tectorate had ended, and it especially behooved a colony with a 
questioned patent and a record for independence to look to its 
standing. A crisis impended in which argument might not pre- 
vail; keenest felicity was demanded. 

One man was recognized above all others to meet this require- 
ment, a man whose name should be placed alongside Hooker's a 
man whose attributes were sufficiently different from those of 
Hooker, Ludlow and the others to exercise the diplomacy now 
necessary at the royal seat of all government. This was the 
younger Winthrop who had worked out the Warwick Patent un- 
derstanding. He, if anyone, could stand for the dependability of 
that patent even when all patents were in danger; he was famil- 
iar by birth and experience with court ways and he, as governor, 

Governor 1657, 1659-1676 

Governor 1698-1707 


had given new evidence of his devotion to the colony. Preemi- 
nently he was the man for the hour. Historian Bancroft says 
of him : 

"As a child he had been the pride of his father's house; 
he had received the best instruction which Cambridge and 
Dublin could afford, and had perfected his education by vis- 
iting, in part at least, in the public service, not Holland and 
France only, in the days of Prince Maurice and Richelieu, 
but Venice and Constantinople. As he traveled through 
Europe he sought the society of men eminent for learning. 
Returning to England in the bloom of life, with the fairest 
promise of advancement, he preferred to follow his father 
to the New World, regarding 'diversities of countries but as 
many inns,' alike conducting to 'the journey's end.' When 
his father became impoverished, the son, unsolicited and 
without recompense, relinquished his inheritance, that it 
'might be spent in furthering the great work' in Massachu- 
setts; himself, without wealth, engaging in the enterprise of 
planting Connecticut. Care for posterity seemed the motive 
to his actions. Understanding the springs of action, and the 
principles that control affairs, he never attempted imprac- 
ticable things, and noiselessly succeeded in all that he under- 
took. The New World was full of his praises. Puritans and 
Quakers and the freemen of Rhode Island were alike his 
eulogists. The Dutch at New York had confidence in his in- 
tegrity, and it is the beautiful testimony of his own father 
that 'God gave him favor in the eyes of all with whom he had 
to do.' " 

Narrative of facts brings out the romance of history, espe- 
cially at a point like this. Winthrop was chosen to make the 
journey to London, and the way — it was supposed by the magis- 
trates — was paved by two letters. Massachusetts, Plymouth 
and finally New Haven reluctantly had hailed the new sovereign, 
as in duty bound and with courtly words, but Connecticut pon- 
dered and remained silent till July 7, 1661, when it addressed 
the King. But a month prior to this petition the General Court 
had written Lord Saye and Sele, for years the spokesman of the 
Puritans, a letter which shows the conception at this time of 
certain important proceedings previously mentioned herein, 
chronologically. The letter referred to his "former encour- 
agement" and his present interest "by value of patent power" 
and begged his assistance. It reviewed the purchase from Fen- 
wick who "for reasons best known to himself" wished to return 


to England. The purchase was "exceedingly opposed" by sev- 
eral who said this would be distasteful to his lordship and the 
patentees, but it was pressed by Fen wick ("God removing some 
from us by death that were interested in the hearts and affection 
of several of those nobles and gentlemen, the patentees in Eng- 
land"). Fenwick insisted he had the power to sell, "the rest of 
the patentees deserting," and the matter "falling into his hands 
by agreement," and also declaring that he might sell to "noisome 
neighbors" (the Dutch), whereupon, for peace and security, 
agreement was made for about £1600 — a "great abuse at Mr. 
Fenwick's hands," considering the poverty of the people and the 
small advantage gained. Indeed, the condition was worse than 
if they had contented themselves with the patronage of the 
""grand patentees," for there was no copy of the patent to secure 
standing as a commonwealth and assure continuance of privi- 
leges so dearly paid for; nor was there anything given by Fen- 
wick which would bind him and his heirs as to rights above the 
professed Massachusetts border; and, being destitute of patent 
or copy, the purchasers could not maintain their claims even on 
the Narragansett side. The petition concluded by saying that 
Winthrop would call on him for advice and counsel and they 
would pray that "an inundation of mercies may flow in upon 
your lordship." 

In the petition to the King the General Court said that it had 
not had the opportunity to obtain from the King such patent as 
would assure them of privileges and power to enable them to 
face the great hardships and hazards in this remote place where 
subsistence was to be had only as a result of infinite labor and 
■expense. Already the settlers had spent much on buildings and 
defenses to add to the honor and enlargement of the King's do- 
minions. They had paid a large sum to Fenwick for a jurisdiction 
right which they had understood was from "true royal author- 
ity" and would submit a copy of a copy which, after the first had 
been lost by fire or in some other way, had sufficed till they 
could take up the matter of royal prerogatives. They besought 
the King to confirm those privileges or else the privileges under 
the old Massachusetts grant, encouraged by which such endeavor 
had been put forth and under which at first it was supposed Con- 
necticut territory was covered. Also and moreover, there was 


the defensive war against the heathen which had cost much in 
life and means ("divers of our dear countrymen were treacher- 
ously destroyed") and still was the colony under great expense 
for maintenance, all of which, hopefully, should bring immunity 
from customs and promotion of commerce in the products this 
land could furnish. They subscribed themselves, without ful- 
someness, loyal subjects and servants. 

During the summer the court framed such a charter as the 
members thought would be proper, and Winthrop sent it here in 
August. The missing copy of the Warwick patent was found 
by Winthrop in England among papers that were left by Edward 
Hopkins after his death there. Doctor Trumbull in his "Colonial 
Records" expresses the opinion that neither before nor after 
the purchase did the colonists have rights in the territory 
other than by occupation, purchase from the Indians and by con- 
quest of the Pequots, and that their purpose had been to buy off 
as quietly as possible any who might challenge their claims. Gov. 
Simeon E. Baldwin's theory concerning the original copy is that 
the Earl of Warwick gave the document to his heir, one of the 
patentees, and in the confusion of war and the extinction of the 
earl's family it was not strange that the copy of the copy was all 
that existed to support the claim prior to the charter of 1662. 

Saye and Sele cooperated earnestly with Winthrop. There 
were many obstacles to be overcome. The secretary of state for 
the colonies, in a letter, expressed grave fear that the colony had 
altogether too much freedom, and there were those in the King's 
circle who agreed with him. But the gravest feature of all — 
a feature which ordinarily would have precluded the possibility 
of sending Winthrop on such a mission — had to do with Win- 
throp's own father-in-law, Rev. Hugh Peters. He had been the 
outspoken pastor of a church of exiles at Rotterdam, and cross- 
ing to New England, had begun his activities in behalf of the col- 
onies as pastor of the church at Salem. One of the promoters of 
the federation of the colonies, he had been chairman of the com- 
mission on international affairs and, while fiery of temper, had 
been one of the strongest of the group which included Hooker, 
the elder Winthrop and Haynes. 

When the Cromwellian war was diverting England's atten- 
tion from the formation of the United Colonies of New England, 


when men like Stephen Winthrop, brother of John Winthrop, 
Jr., Capt. Israel Stoughton of Pequot war fame, George Fenwick 
of Saybrook, Edward Winslow of Plymouth and Gov. Edward 
Hopkins of Connecticut returned to England to help on Crom- 
well's cause, and when Hooker felt obliged to reject the petitions 
of eminent Parliamentarians to return to participate in reform- 
ing the church (because he would be in the minority among so 
many Presbyterians), Peters was among the first to improve 
such an opportunity. To his mind, England was then the field 
for the Puritans to cultivate; immigration having decreased, 
New England was suffering in agriculture and commerce, many 
were leaving the new country and not a few were returning to 
their old homes across the sea. And when the war was ended, 
he was the one chosen to preach "the funeral sermon to the King, 
after sentence, out of Esaias:" 'Thou art cast out of the grave 
like an abominable branch, * * * as a carcass trodden under 
feet * * because thou hast destroyed thy land and slain 

thy people." And only shortly before Winthrop appeared in 
London, when Charles II had limited to about ten the number of 
his father's executioners who should be put to death, Hugh Pe- 
ters had been one of those selected. His memory ever was re- 
vered among the Puritans of the stamp of Milton, but the full- 
blooded Charles hardly could be supposed to have regained his 

Winthrop's education and genius carried the day against the 
opposition of many in court circles. A ring which had been pre- 
sented to Winthrop's father by Charles I was received most grate- 
fully by his majesty, and in various ways the governor-diplomat 
won the monarch's personal esteem. His preliminary address 
was skilfully couched. It voiced the lament of the colonists that 
they were separated by the sea from the noble seat of govern- 
ment and their gracious monarch; their grief over the wars in 
England and their feeling that they had been hidden behind the 
mountains like a people forsaken in a desert, not applying to an 
illegal government but waiting upon divine Providence. He be- 
sought the sovereign "to accept this colony, your own colony, a 
little branch of your mighty hemisphere" — and he obtained all 
the territory from Narragansett Bay to the Pacific, including 
the charterless colony of New Haven. 


He wrote the happy news to Deputy Governor Mason in May 
and sent the precious document in August, he prolonging his 
stay because of other concern, including participation in the 
founding of the Royal Society. It was with regret that the King 
saw T him depart. The charter was issued in duplicate, a fact 
which was to make romantic history a little later on and to pique 
curiosity till 1898. 

It is said, and appears evident, that Winthrop did not pre- 
sent the charter endorsed by the General Court but instead one 
that he drew up in connection with counsel employed by himself. 
It was the most liberal charter ever granted. In the main it 
perpetuated the principles of the Fundamental Orders, giving 
the colony under royal warrant that independence for which it 
had been founded. There were to be a governor, a deputy gover- 
nor, twelve assistants and a House of Deputies, two from each 
town, all elected annually. Laws were not to be made contrary 
to those of England, but they did not have to be transmitted to 
England for inspection nor was there provision for royal inter- 
ference of any kind. The charter was received with much re- 
joicing and was approved by the people in October. A charter 
also was obtained for Rhode Island. 

Possibly a reason why New Haven territory was included in 
the charter was that that colony had harbored the regicides, Goff , 
Whalley and Dixwell. Deep and severe were the reproaches of 
John Davenport and his followers. After four months of rebuf- 
fing overtures, the New Haven General Court voted to continue 
its own government. Winthrop had not yet returned. In a let- 
ter to Deputy Governor Mason he urged that matters should not 
be pushed too hard and had hoped from the beginning that New 
Haven would exercise its option, but the General Assembly (as it 
was now called) disregarded the advice, recognized the outlying- 
towns that had come into the fold, appointed magistrates and re- 
quested that deputies should be elected, sending notices to the 
towns outside of New Haven itself. The next year the subject 
was foremost at the meeting of the federation commissioners in 
Boston. Massachusetts and Plymouth decided that "by act of 
violence" New Haven could not have her rights infringed upon 
by any other of the United Colonies without breach of the articles 
of confederation; the "act of power" should be recalled and New 


Haven be left to continue till such time as the subject might be 
disposed of in an "orderly way." 

Since her voters must be church members, New Haven's elec- 
tors were only 60 per cent of her men ; the other 40 per cent were 
in favor of the union of the colonies. All but three towns seceded 
which left the others in financial straits and governmental di- 
lemma. It happened at this juncture that an order from the 
King relative to navigation was addressed to the governor of 
New Haven, on the strength of which action the demand was 
made upon the seceding towns to return to the jurisdiction, while 
the New Haven court sent a document to Connecticut's General 
Assembly reviewing the situation and asking that union be not 
insisted upon. Connecticut remained silent but Massachusetts 
advisers said that, having made this statement, New Haven could 
yield with dignity. Simultaneously it appeared that the Duke 
of York, brother of Charles II, was planning to assert his author- 
ity under a charter granted by the susceptible Charles, covering 
Long Island, New Netherlands and all the territory from the 
west bank of the Connecticut to the east side of Delaware Bay. 
This looked to New Haven like a second robbery, and altogether 
it was better to join with Connecticut. The broken-hearted Dav- 
enport declared that his dear colony's independence was "miser- 
ably lost." Winthrop put forth no claim to Long Island but 
arranged to have the western boundary about as it is today, bar- 
ring a few changes which were to come out of several controver- 
sies in subsequent years. 

The now comprehensive General Assembly was to meet alter- 
nately in New Haven and Hartford. Winthrop continued as 
governor till his death in 1676. The marvel of his success had 
become greater as the years went by, for the King's advisers 
and their successors were more and more outspoken in declaring 
that he had exceeded his powers in granting an independent 
state. And in action the colonists did not hesitate to exercise in- 
dependence in excess of their charter rights. Certain changes 
were made to suit their convenience. Thus the charter required 
that colony officers should be elected by the freemen assembled 
in one mass meeting; it had become customary for the outlying 
towns to send their votes to Hartford by their deputies, and as 
the same was true in New Haven, a law was passed authorizing 


such action, in 1670, but not till 1750 were the words "in per- 
son" struck out. This was contrary to the English law and would 
have been taken as a violation of the charter had attention been 
'Called to it. 

In 1698, the Legislature was divided into two houses, the 
governor and assistants (or "council") constituting the "upper 
house." "That there be no fraud or deceit," balloting in town 
meetings was as follows : Twenty nominations of colony officers 
were made at the preceding session of the Legislature. As the 
nominations were read, ballots were taken for governor, deputy 
governor, secretary and assistants, in order. The nominations 
for assistants were taken in order, each separately, the twelve 
having the most votes being declared the choice. Anyone could 
put in a blank ballot without making himself known, but unless 
all were blank it would have no effect. The criticism of today is 
that a nomination was an election, with the result that the votes 
of the freemen counted for naught. But such was not the case. 
The "convention" or "caucus," to be sure, was in the preceding 
session, where, as time progressed, there could develop diver- 
gences of opinion although as yet there was no division into par- 
ties; then if results were still unsatisfactory, enough blank bal- 
lots would appear at the election to make a renomination verv 
uncertain — and elections came every year. In general, however, 
nothing occurred to make more than one party, there was fair 
unanimity and a desire to continue those who served well. In 
1689, when an elector must have an estate worth 40 shilling's a 
year, the experiment was tried of having a direct vote of the 
freemen for the nominees at the nominating session of the Legis- 
lature, each ballot with twenty names to be written out, but this 
was abandoned after three years. 

The first distinct property qualification for a voter was made 
in 1657 when the character of some of the immigrants seemed to 
demand it. In that year, voters for colony (not town) officers 
must be householders at least 21 years old, have held office or 
have an estate of £30; ratable estates then averaged £60. In 
1679 the law was that each voter for town or county officers must 
have an estate of at least 50 shillings. There were four counties, 
Hartford, New Haven, New London and Fairfield, each having 
three assistants and two commissioners or "justices of the peace." 


When the Dutch were threatening in 1673, it was decreed 
that there should be a "Grand Committee" — the first Council of 
War — to deal with all matters in case of emergency between ses- 
sions. This committee should consist of the governor, deputy 
governor and assistants and such others as were named, mostly 
military men, and generally so after the first year of the law. 
The Hartford County men on this responsible committee, which 
was to be of great value in the dark years ahead, were Capt. 
Benjamin Newberry of Windsor, (and later) Captain Wells, 
Capt. John Wadsworth and Richard Lord. 




The enactment for a War Council, so useful for another hun- 
dred years, must seem anomalous to him who only pores over the 
records and stilted correspondence of thirty years up to this 
time. Aside from consideration of the Dutch threat, attention 
of those who wrote was devoted to affairs of state, of government 
and of internal legislation along the paths of peace. Absorbed 
in such reading, one comes to think that now the colony was sure 
of its footing and went forward steadily to the final union of 
states. But among the people themselves it was items like the 
War Council legislation that reflected a constant and growing 
sense of wariness, a necessity for keeping prepared, and yet no 
premonition of what the next century was to bring. 

The first act of distinct colonial aid to the mother country 
was in 1664 when Charles II sent Col. Richard Nicholls who, 
supported by reinforcements from New England and Rhode 
Island and accompanied by Governor Winthrop, secured Stuy- 
vesant's capitulation of New Amsterdam. Almost immediately 
thereafter was confidence in peaceful colony-building to be 
shaken when Governor Andros sailed from New York to fix the 
Connecticut River boundary line of the territory given the Duke 
of York by Charles. With his fleet and brave soldiery he ap- 
peared at Saybrook July 8, 1675. The General Assembly had 
exercised foresight. Capt. Thomas Bull of Hartford, redoubt- 
able, had arrived at the fort with well-equipped men. The flag 
of the King to whom the colony had pledged fealty was aloft. 
Andros and his attendants in all their finery were courteously 
permitted to land and even to read the duke's epistle. But Bull 



— who Andros said should have "his horns tipped with silver" — 
abated none of his warlike attitude. As it would be imprudent 
to fire upon the King's flag, there was nothing for Andros and 
his retinue to do but to sail home again. Bull was lionized by 
a much-agitated people, but the stern General Assembly told him 
that he should have interrupted Andros' reading "by shouts or 
sound of drum etc., without violence." 

In the fall of that same year all anxiety imposed by white 
men, whether of their own blood or other, dropped into insig- 
nificance before the outburst from Massachusetts. With no aid 
from the mother country, war was on, brief in its duration, little 
more than itemized for the casual reader, but a war whose fear- 
ful intensity caused the General Court of Massachusetts to de- 
clare at the close : 

There died many brave officers and sentinels, whose 
memory is blessed and whose death redeemed our lives. The 
bitter cold, the tarled swamp, the tedious march, the strong- 
fort, the numerous and stubborn enemy they contended 
with, for their God, King and country, be their trophies over 
death. Our mourners, over all the colony, witness for our 
men that they were not unfaithful in that day. 

In retrospect the government of Massachusetts ascribed King 
Philip's war to God's indignation over the sins of the people who 
had become lax in church discipline, had forgotten to train their 
children aright, had forsaken the paths of their fathers and had 
permitted their women to expose their bosoms, to dress their 
hair indecently and to wear too many ribbons. History ascribes 
it more nearly to application of Puritan ideas of deportment and 
government to proud and sensitive Indians who had not been 
made instruments of aid as in Connecticut. For unchristian- 
ized natives there was only Anglo-Saxon justice interpreted by 
the red men as contempt. The Wampanoags had not been Chris- 
tianized; their chief Massasoit had shared all he had with the 
newcomers, but his successors, Alexander and Philip, found their 
people pushed to one side and downward and vaunted pledges 
violated, according to their interpretation, as when Miantonomoh 
of the Narragansetts had been allowed to go to his death at the 
hands of him they called renegade, Uncas of the Mohegans. Al- 
exander's sudden (but natural) death they ascribed to poison; 


Philip, young, lusty, supple, came to the chieftainship, bitter of 
heart. Thrice was he summoned to Boston for investigation, and 
returned marveling at the exhibition of firearms he had seen. 
Ordered to surrender his own till signs of an outbreak should 
disappear, he remarked that he saw that those he did turn in 
were distributed among the individual colonists and he reminded 
the government of the spirit of amity which had been promised 
to the fathers. 

For four years breach of faith was charged again and again, 
till at last the fires were lit and the Wampanoags and the Narra- 
gansetts and their associates, to the number of over 3,000, were 
on the warpath. Connecticut, with more methodical preparation 
and with greater confidence in her local Indians, was the first to 
take the field. The Podunks alone favored the enemy; Uncas, 
whose home now was with the Mohegans on the Narragansett 
border, had been having quarrels with his eastern neighbors; and 
his followers, chiefly as scouts and guides, were of great assist- 
ance. Heedless of Andros' threat, the troops were on the march 
for New London, Stonington and Saybrook July 1, 1675, under 
command of Capt. Wait Winthrop and Thomas Bull. Shrewd in 
generalship, Philip's first blow fell on the Connecticut Valley in 
Massachusetts, and Brookfield was burning on August 1. Capt. 
Thomas Watts of Hartford and Capt. Roger Newberry of Wind- 
sor with troopers and Mohegans, were hurried to the support of 
the Massachusetts men, followed soon by Maj. John Talcott of 
Hartford at the request of Major Pynchon of Springfield, for a 
conference. At Deerfield, September 1, Watts was able to pro- 
tect the people but could not save their homes. Maj. Robert 
Treat, formerly of Wethersfield but now of Milford, hastened 
to the relief of Northfield, where brave Massachusetts men had 
paid the penalty of lack of vigilance, and escorted the people to 
Hadley. His force was too small for battle. Recalled by alarm 
at Hartford, he returned, scouring both sides of the river. 

Pynchon as commander-in-chief and Treat as second in com- 
mand then planned a campaign which they were unable to exe- 
cute because of the interference of the commissioners at Boston 
who demanded annihilation in the open. A careless convoy of 
provisions near Northfield, their guns on their wagons, were 


annihilated. Treat arrived in time to save their bodies for bur- 
ial — seventy-five in one grave. 

Terror hereabouts was greatly increased by the burning of 
Springfield October 5, 1675. General massacre by the hitherto 
friendly Agawams would have been included had it not been for 
information from an Indian employed by H. Wolcott, Jr., a 
Windsor farmer who brought warning at the risk of his life. 
Pynchon from the north and Treat from Westfield arrived too 
late. More Connecticut alarms, especially around Wethersfield, 
where, as in the other towns, all able-bodied men were taking 
turns in guarding the homes and the crops, caused the tempo- 
rary recall of Treat. Disgusted with the interference from Bos- 
ton, Pynchon resigned and suggested Treat for his successor, but 
as he was in Connecticut, Major Appleton was named. The 
small body of fighters was becoming demoralized by foolish or- 
ders. Treat's return inspired confidence but almost immedi- 
ately he was recalled because of reports from Glastonbury, and 
was held in Connecticut pending an attack upon Hartford which 
Governor Andros of New York wrote he had learned of. This 
danger passing, Treat hastened to the aid of Appleton, now bot- 
tled up at Hatfield with the redskins tearing at will through all 
the country north of Springfield, cutting off farmers and de- 
stroying crops. At the approach of winter, falling leaves were 
making it possible to scout through the woods when Treat was 
summoned to Hartford and Appleton to Boston to receive the 
plan of the commissioners of the United Colonies for an attack 
on winter quarters of the Narragansetts, who had not taken the 
trail but were harboring the families of their friends. Their 
chief, Canonchet, had signed a treaty but that was drafted "by 
old men" in his absence and he refused to comply with the agree- 
ment to turn over the alien Indians in his territory. 

The commissioners issued an ultimatum and then, on No- 
vember 2, a call for 1,000 additional men to invade the Narra- 
gansett land. Of Connecticut's quota of 215, Hartford sent 110. 
Gov. Josiah Winslow of Plymouth was chief in command with 
Treat next to him. Capt. Benjamin Newberry of Windsor hav- 
ing been disabled was succeeded by Capt. Samuel Marshall. 
Other Connecticut officers who were to distinguish themselves 
were Captains Thomas Watts, Nathaniel Seeley, John Gallop, 


John Mason 2nd and Lieutenants James Avery and John Miles, 
while Rev. James Fitch was to organize Mohegans and Pequots 
as auxiliaries. On December 18, this the largest army ever as- 
sembled in the colonies, after a day of fasting and prayer on the 
2nd when the people were told by the government of the Bay Col- 
ony that they were suffering judgment for their sins of frivolity, 
started at daylight for the Narragansett swamp where some 
1,200 warriors were fortified with their women and children. 
And it was Sunday. That such an expedition should be under- 
taken with untrained men, badly equipped, through snow and 
into pathless woods, seeming to invite defeat and so contrary to 
the first principles of campaigning, is abundant proof of the des- 
peration. They believed the fate of the colonies was at stake; 
this blow alone could give them hope. Homes were few and they 
and their occupants were being destroyed; approaches were be- 
ing made even to the environments of the equally unprotected 
larger settlements; whether this was to be white men's land or 
Indians' must be decided. Hartford no less than Boston can 
count this as one of the gravest moments in its history. 

Guided to the one weak spot in the doubly strengthened pali- 
sade, the Massachusetts men led the assault but were stopped 
with heavy loss. Connecticut followed, and there fell immedi- 
ately Gallop of Stonington, Marshall of Windsor, Lieut. John 
Steclman of Wethersfield, commanding the Hartford County 
Dragoons, and Seeley of Fairfield, and Mason was mortally 
wounded. Exhausted by their long march and dazed with the 
novelty of their surroundings, the new men were about to be- 
come the easy victims of the warriors who were defending their 
homes when the wigwams caught fire and the flames, swept by 
a swift wind, drove all before them down the large enclosure. 
Six captains and twenty-five men had been killed and 150 
wounded in brief space of time. The English retreated before 
the flames to the swamp. How many of the Indians had perished 
could not be surmised, but it must be that the force had been 
greatly reduced. The position could not be held; the alternative 
was almost as impossible but had to be accepted and, accordingly, 
in a fierce snowstorm which beat down many of them, they 
worked their way in the darkness over the rough trails to their 
base near present Wickford. Twenty died in their improvised 

11— VOL. 1 


litters on the march. While the main body arrived two hours 
after midnight, stragglers were coming in throughout the next 

Canonchet would have no parley till his hostage brother was 
returned from Hartford. The army was speedily recruited up 
to 1,400, Connecticut furnishing 300. With all the red men he 
could assemble from any source, Canonchet was striking out 
through a corner of Connecticut towards the center of Massa- 
chusetts where presumably were the headquarters of King 
Philip, but no one knew; at all events the union of such forces 
must be prevented. A premature blow by Winslow proved dis- 
astrous. The slow pursuit through snow and over roughest ter- 
rain, without the chance of a shot, was ever after known as the 
"hunger march" when the white men had to kill their few horses 
for food. On through Woodstock to Marlboro, in the heart of 
the Indian country, they had pushed when Winslow made the 
costly error of disbanding his forces. The Indians, nearly starved 
after the arrival of the reinforcements, raided farms more 

To the call for 600 men, with Mohegans, Major Treat re- 
sponded generously for Connecticut, but before they could be 
assembled one of the most frightful blows of the war fell upon 
Lancaster and it was wiped out February 10, 1676. Among the 
wounded prisoners spared was Mrs. Joseph Rowlandson, wife of 
the minister who at the time was in Boston begging for a guard 
for his town. The ball which passed through her side mortally 
wounded the babe in her arms. Her written story of her cap- 
tivity and the considerate treatment she received was given out 
after her removal to Wethersfield and is one of the most valu- 
able human documents of colonial times. More recruits were 
brought up. With 200 Major Treat, in March, rescued Capt. 
William Turner who, with his garrison of seventy-eight, at 
Northampton, had given up hope. 

March 17 the valley tribesmen stole down through Pine Mea- 
dow (Windsor Locks) where they killed one man, over to Sims- 
bury where they plundered and burned houses the settlers had 
abandoned. Fiction marks a cave on the west side of Talcott 
Mountain as the aerie from which King Philip himself watched 
the flames; since the cave was on the farm of the Phelps family, 


the probability is that the names with their similarity in sound 
became confused in successive generations which told of the raid. 

Again Treat was called back to search for vagabond Indians 
who killed or wounded a colonist here or there and increased the 
anxiety. Philip himself was rejoicing in his freedom from at- 
tack, and was planning a combined invasion of the Boston terri- 
tory, where farmers and villagers were huddling in despair, 
when Treat led a band of Connecticut men into Rhode Island, by 
strategy on April 3 annihilated one band of Indians and soon 
brought back the Narragansett chief Canonchet. To the offer of 
his life if he would secure peace, Canonchet replied that he 
wished to die before his heart was made soft and before he had 
spoken words unworthy of himself. On April 8, the council at 
Hartford formally acknowledged the receipt of his head from 
the Mohegans and Pequots to whom he had been turned over for 

Treat had resigned about that time to accept the position of 
deputy governor and had been succeeded by Maj. John Talcott. 
The Connecticut troops were ordered to join Henchman and his 
Massachusetts men for a final attack on Philip in his stronghold 
on Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts. Henchman having been 
misled and Talcott alone not being strong enough for the attack, 
the Connecticut commander took his own course westerly and 
did that thorough work up through the Connecticut valley which 
has caused him to be memorialized there. Unknown to the In- 
dians, he was inside the stockade at Hadley the night of June 11 
when they had assembled for their massacre, and from that time 
on, he and Henchman who had come up with him gave them no 
rest. Philip was oif for the Narragansett country but Talcott, 
with Newberry and Denison, were there ahead of him. Striking 
as he went, Talcott reached Providence where he learned that 
peace was being talked of, "upon which information," he re- 
ported, "being willing to set our seal upon it, we posted away 
and drest Providence's necks, killing and capturing sixty-seven 
Indians we found there." 

Meantime the Massachusetts troops, convinced at last that 
Indian scouts were an essential, were pressing the devastators 
hard throughout eastern Massachusetts. Having learned of 
Philip's lair near Bristol, they hastened down into Rhode Island 


nor rested till they had surrounded him. On August 12, one of 
the Indians shot and killed him as he was escaping from his 
hiding place. Bands making their way westward terrified again 
the up-river region whither Talcott hurried in August to give 
them their final blow. 

Hartford County activities during the period had been con- 
stant. As early as 1674 it had been ordered that certain houses 
in each community should be fortified to afford place of refuge 
in case of attack. In July, 1675, 150 dragoons and troopers were 
operating between here and New London. After John Colt had 
been shot by skulkers in the South Meadows in September, Major 
Treat kept a patrol of thirty dragoons there for some time. When 
110 men were called for in November, to report to Major Treat, 
Hartford's quota was 30, Windsor's 28, Wethersfield's 20, Farm- 
ington's 15 and Middletown's 14, with a horse to every third 
man. At the Swamp Fight, Wethersfield was represented by 
Lieut. John Stedman who was killed and by Lieut. Samuel Mar- 
tin, Capt. Samuel Welles, Lieut. John Chester, Lieut. Thomas 
Hollister and Rev. Gershom Bulkeley, chaplain and surgeon, who 
was overcome. After that fight, in the expedition into Rhode 
Island, John Fitch of Wethersfield commanded the county dra- 
goons; Samuel Martin, Sr., was a lieutenant in Captain Watts' 
company. In February, 1676, eighty from the county went with 
Major Talcott to Rhode Island. William Hills of East Hartford 
was shot in the Hockanum meadows. A garrison was estab- 
lished in Glastonbury and the Indians were told to build a fort. 
John Kirby was shot between Wethersfield and Middletown. In 
March of that year eighty were sent to Captain Newberry's com- 
mand in Northampton. The Council of War ordered the release 
of Sachem Turramugas, Sowheag's successor, who had been 
held for conspiracy. In June, 1676, the Hartford company was 
divided into two parts, the southern section under the command 
of John Stanley of Hartford; Thomas Hollister of Wethersfield 
lieutenant and John Wyett ensign. After King Philip's death, 
Hollister was authorized to return ten prisoners to the Mohegan 
allies; the rest of the prisoners were sold as slaves by order of 
Major Talcott. Henry Denslow of Windsor and Edward Elmor 
in South Windsor were shot in the summer of 1676. To meet 


expenses in this war, the colony paid an extra tax of 11 pence on 
the pound for three years. 

After this war, Indians ceased to be a serious problem in 
local government barring an affair with Minigret and the Long 
Island Indians. Tribal control, independent settlements with a 
governor in control, in this place and in that, with no one want- 
ing them for neighbors, the remnants of the Pequots spent their 
last days in comparatively modern times near Groton and Ston- 
ington, aided by the state. The Mohegans, lords over wide terri- 
tory, sold plots of ground first to one white man and then to an- 
other, often for a drink or a trinket, until there was confusion 
that occupied the attention of courts in England and in Connecti- 
cut for seventy years. Major Mason had accepted from Uncas 
the large tract known as "Sequestered Land" which never was 
encroached upon till after Mason's death in Norwich in 1672. 
He considered it the property of the colony as by deed, a conten- 
tion earnestly presented by those who bought into lawsuits and 
eventually so maintained by the colony. 

Not far from Mason's grave is that of Uncas who lived ten 
years longer than he, meantime distinguishing himself again in 
King Philip's war. In the cemetery set apart for the royal fam- 
ily of the Pequots and Mohegans stands his monument, the foun- 
dation stone of which was put in place in 1833 by President An- 
drew Jackson, who was accompanied by Vice President Van 
Buren, Governor Edwards and members of the President's 

The Podunks and the other Indians of Hartford County, as 
will be seen in some of the town histories in this work, faded 
away rapidly. A number of them removed to the western sec- 
tion of the county whence they were taken to Stockbridge, Mass., 
and eventually, with other wanderers, to Stockbridge, N. Y., to 
jurisdiction of the Oneidas. The tribe was called the Brother- 
tons. Samson Occum, the Mohegan Indian minister, one of the 
Indian pupils of Doctor Wheelock whose attainments inspired 
the founding of Dartmouth College, was their pastor and died 
there in 1792. They moved on to Calumet County, Wisconsin, 
where their descendants, admitted to citizenship in 1839, became 
a prosperous community. 


Four years after the war favorable report of conditions was 
sent to England by the colony. The militia numbered 2,500 and 
one troop of sixty horse. Of Indian neighbors there were 500 
fighting men. Trade was chiefly with Boston and the commodi- 
ties were provisions, lumber and horses. Imports amounted to 
£9,000 annually. Wheat crops were failures. There were twenty 
"petty merchants," few foreign merchants, few servants and 
fewer slaves — not over thirty. There were so few English, Scotch 
and Irish coming in that no account could be made of them. 
Nearly all the people were Congregationalists with a few Presby- 
terians and four or five "seven-day" men and the same number 
of Quakers. In the twenty-six towns there were twenty-one 
churches with settled ministers whose stipend was from £50 to 
£100. The poor were well cared for, labor was "dear" — two shil- 
lings or more a day, and provisions cheap. Beggars and vaga- 
bonds were not allowed. 

Rhode Island invaders were driven back over the line while 
Connecticut claimed her boundary by charter and also by con- 
quest in the late war, in which Rhode Island had done nothing. 
Rhode Island's claim to part of the Connecticut territory was set 
aside by commissioners appointed by the King. This dispute was 
revived again under the claim of the heirs of the Duke of Hamil- 
ton and fruitless litigation continued many years. 




In the short breathing spell for quiet, independent yet loyal 
expansion, another crisis was impending. It was unlike that 
which the barbarians had created because it was imposed by 
those then in control in the mother country and therefore un- 
natural, and it was to find its culmination in freedom with in- 
dependence a hundred years later. Charles II could be gracious; 
he could be flattering in correspondence, as when comparing this 
colony with that of the Bay, but he also could "play" favorites. 
His grant of previously granted territory to his brother James, 
Duke of York, was only one example. Also there were men who 
could take advantage of his good nature. 

Foremost among these was Edward Randolph. From com- 
mercial and imperialistic standpoint, the program for combining 
territory under one control was much in line with the programs 
of later years and later colonization, but the fallacy here lay in 
the misconception of the disposition of fellow Englishmen and 
men who had gone out to secure freedom of thought. To pre- 
pare the way for such large combine as he would like, Randolph 
cast aspersions upon New England and especially upon the Bay 
Colony. For Connecticut he made good use of the Saybrook in- 
cident to demonstrate the haughtiness of this colony at the time 
Governor Andros had sought to assert York's title. When York 
himself came to the throne upon his brother's death in 1685, 
England's Board of Trade had reason to expect early amalgama- 
tion, under gubernatorial control, from the Delaware to Canada. 

In popular understanding, a charter is a sacred instrument, 
not to be annulled without a hearing. During James' tyrannical 



reign, however, such established principle was ignored. The 
form of a hearing in English court was outwardly recognized, as 
here seen, but in reality was brushed aside. Charter or no char- 
ter, as the colonists knew from their counsellors in London, the 
government of Andros alone would be endorsed by the King ; the 
holder of a charter in 1687 could not stand against such supreme 
authority; nor were rights of subjects in the colonies to be estab- 
lished through later reigns until there was recourse to arms, in 
1775. Then it was to be the sentiment of genuine English people 
at home as well as here which prevailed against un-English mon- 
archs and influence. 

Hartford County history has to do only with Hartford fea- 
tures of the coercion now employed, the most spectacular of all 
of them inasmuch as here was the seat of the only free constitu- 
tional government. Here was the best exemplification of the 
principle of assemblage in town meetings, which James espe- 
cially abhorred. The "town" is traceable back into the history 
of European races. In England it was the "parish." In the 
Bay Colony, indicated in its original charter, it took the form of 
a governmental system, and the first regular town legislation in 
the General Court was at the time of the Hooker arguments 
there in 1635. The town meeting was to infuriate Andros till 
his overthrow and imprisonment in 1689. It was to remain down 
through generations a distinctively New England institution of 
which Jefferson said: "It is the wisest invention ever devised 
by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government, 
and for its preservation." It gave a voice to freedom which at 
times was inharmonious with the environment of the sanctuary 
in which it usually was held, or may have threatened the foun- 
dations of the "town hall" later erected for it, like a palladium, 
but it kept the interest of the individual at a white heat. 

What King James and Andros would not suppress but would 
control from their royal seats was the soldiery. It was through 
fear of such monarchical conception that foresighted Connecti- 
cut from the first had quietly provided that control must remain 
under the colonial and subsequently the state government. Per- 
sistence in this is deeply marked throughout Connecticut his- 
tory, as a colony and as a member of confederated and then of 
united states. The reasons will appear in regular order. 


With these points in mind, the events from 1685 to 1700 
become more than incidents in historical narrative. Andros 
came to Boston as governor of New England in December, 1686. 
Randolph as collector and tale-bearer had been stirring up the 
indignation of all the colonies and in 1684 had secured the an- 
nulment of the Massachusetts charter in court. In 1685 he 
issued writ of quo warranto because Connecticut was in the 
hands of an "independent party." He wrote to Hartford that 
nothing now remained on Connecticut's part but to think of 
humble submission and dutiful surrender of the charter ; if there 
were resort to law, the colony would be attached to New York, a 
great "calamity;" and with the jocularity of a Caesar Borgia — 
also of great persuasive eloquence — he added : "Bless not your- 
selves with vain expectation of advantage and spinning out of 
time by delay. I will engage, though the weather be warm, the 
writs will keep sound, as good as when first landed." 

It chanced that the writs were served too late and hence were 
defective. A third was issued and when delivered was accom- 
panied by a letter from AncLros saying he would receive surren- 
der of charter if tendered. Under the tyranny of James, that 
signified that the surrender was merely a matter of form; the 
result would be the same one way or the other. The colonists 
realized this but preferred to adhere to form. Governor Treat 
replied that William Whiting was then in London as attorney; 
therefore he asked for time but said, of course, that he was "in 
duty bound" to submit to the King's demands. Some of the few 
local supporters of Andros, like Rev. Gershom Bulkeley who in 
1692 wrote the document "Will and Doom," insisted that Con- 
necticut should be willing. Others were disturbed by the threat 
of being joined to New York. The majority calmly bided the out- 
come. In October Andros wrote the governor that he had orders 
to compel annexation to Boston and he would soon be in Hart- 
ford. Receiving no reply, he set forth October 26, 1687 (accord- 
ing to Judge Sewall's diary), with sundry of his council, justices 
and other gentlemen, four blue-coats, two trumpeters, fifteen 
or twenty red-coats, with small guns and short lances in the tops 
of them, by way of Providence and the Wethersfield ferry (where 
he was greeted by Gershom Bulkeley). Thence he was escorted 
by the Hartford County troop under command of Capt. Samuel 


Talcott of Wethersfield, and a detachment of the Hartford train- 
band, to the Adams-Sanford tavern in Hartford. 

Governor Andros was ushered into the chamber of the Gen- 
eral Assembly in the old inn on Main Street. His retinue and 
soldiers and the colony's escort remained outside. The inn-keep- 
er's entertainment for those without, on this grand occasion, was 
even more lavish than usual. With austere respect Andros — he 
who had met one defeat at the hands of Captain Bull at Saybrook 
— was escorted to the governor's chair. Patiently he listened to 
the defense arguments. They were prolonged by distinguished 
colonists till the hour for lighting candles. The charter lay ex- 
posed in its box on the table. To him as he listened quietly, with- 
out wasting breath, it was but a piece of sheepskin ; to the colon- 
ists, studiously gracious in their manner though they were, it 
was the symbol of sacred rights inherited from Hooker and per- 
petuated by Winthrop. The room, lighted by the flickering 
"dips," became close and uncomfortable. A window was opened 
to clear the tobacco smoke and cool the tired brains. An October 
puff and the feeble lights were extinguished, but quickly restored 
out of respect for His Majesty's representative. No record was 
made of what had happened in the moments of darkness; it was 
not a subject to be bruited around and published in King James' 
England. Andros had caused his royal commission as gover- 
nor to be read and he appointed Governor Treat, with rank of 
colonel, and Capt. John Allyn, who was the secretary of the col- 
ony and of the meeting, to be members of his council which was 
to sit in Boston and make the laws. The secretary handed the 
seal to Sir Edmund, and at some time later closed his report with 
these words : 

His Excellency, Sir Edmund Andros, Knight, Captain- 
General and Governor of His Majesty's Territory and Do- 
minion in New England, by order from His Majesty, King 
of England, Scotland and Ireland, the 31st of October, 1687, 
took into his hands the government of this colony of Connec- 
ticut, it being by His Majesty annexed to the Massachusetts 
and other colonies under His Majesty's government. Finis. 

The sentence seems to bear the earmarks of dictation. 

In the interval of darkness in the meeting, the charter had 
disappeared. Andros may have made no stir; he had learned 
something about these people since he met Captain Bull at Say- 

From an old painting 


brook; on that humiliating occasion he had spoken in the name 
of the Duke of York; today he had spoken in the name of the 
same man but "His Majesty," and he was conscious of his vic- 
tory; nothing more need concern him. But the symbol of liberty 
had fallen into the hands of Joseph Wadsworth, an officer in the 
militia who probably was one of the colonial escort and whose 
brother John was a member of the Assembly, from Farmington. 
By him it was hurried to a place of safety, a hole in a great oak 
in front of the house of Magistrate Samuel Wyllys. This is on 
the authority of the historian of the next century, Dr. Benjamin 
Trumbull of New Haven who got such traditions at first hand or 
very nearly. In the better days of 1715, a resolution was intro- 
duced in the lower house of the Assembly to give the captain £4 
for his "securing the Duplicate Charter of this colony in a very 
troublesome season when our Constitution was struck at, and in 
safety keeping and preserving the same ever since unto this day." 
In the upper house, where the captain was not popular because 
of contemptuous words for which he had been publicly repri- 
manded, the amount was cut to 20 shillings, and the resolution so 

This parchment ever after was sacredly guarded. Eventually 
it was framed in wood of the tree in which it had been hidden, and 
then hung in the secretary's office. Now in its beautiful carved 
frame it rests in a special safe, open for public inspection, in the 
Memorial Hall of the State Library Building, beside Stuart's 
portrait of Washington. What had become of the other charter? 
In the fighting of wars of European origin and endeavoring to 
catch up with their own affairs meantime, the colonists must have 
been too engaged to think about it. If there was inquisitiveness 
during the reign of James, there were reasons for suppressing it. 
Treat in the council was saving Connecticut from most of the ills 
that were meted out to the other colonies, and it was best to let 
a sleeping dog lie. After James was driven from the throne in 
1689 and King William had restored the colony's rights— which 
indeed had scarcely been suspended except in name — there was 
constantly enough besides the charter to command the thoughts 
of the colonists, and the duplicate was all sufficient. The only 
mystery thereto attaching is how they knew this was the "dupli- 
cate" unless it were by private statement of one of the guardian 
committee who had known the whereabouts of the original. The 


committee had been composed of Samuel Wyllys, John Talcott and 
John Allen. Wyllys was one of the foremost citizens of the town; 
on his land it was that the oak stood in which the charter was 
hidden. The descendants of Wyllys were no less distinguished 
than he. His namesake (1739-1823) was the first captain of the 
Governor's Foot Guard, colonel in the Revolution, town clerk, 
secretary of the state and major-general in the militia. He main- 
tained the old homestead. 

The colonial government had acknowledged the receipt of "the 
charter, the duplicate and the old copy of the former charter" — 
meaning doubtless the Warwick Patent which Winthrop had un- 
earthed. It had been understood that Winthrop would bring over 
the duplicate of his charter when he came. The acknowledgment 
can then be interpreted to mean "the charter" (duplicate form) 
and the two copies of the old one, no trace of either of which had 
been found when wanted (or not wanted). The copy which the 
committee had had in charge till Andros came was in all proba- 
bility the only charter the colony had, for it can be assumed that 
the Assembly would not have rewarded Wadsworth in 1715 for 
saving a copy if it already had the original. Roger Wolcott was 
chairman of the committee that framed that resolution. He was 
a boy at the time of Andros' visit. When well on in years, in 
1759, he gave reminiscences of the affair and was quoted as saying 
that Nathaniel Stanley took one copy and Governor Talcott the 
other. Talcott was governor from 1725 to 1742. 

But on August 26, 1686, the government had sent a letter to 
Counselor Whiting in London, according to the "Colonial Rec- 
ords," instructing him to appear at the next term of court in Lon- 
don, to be held in February, 1687, when writs would be returnable 
in the action of quo warranto; within six months he was to be 
prepared and have the "duplicate of our charter ready to be estab- 
lished," * * * "(which by Governor Winthrop was left with 
Mr. James Porter of London and since by us he was ordered to 
deliver it to you.)" If there were to be any charges against the 
colony, he should request sufficient time to make answer and 
decide whether to go to the court or to the King. Delay, it evi- 
dently was reasoned, might prevent the worst of alternatives — 
annexation to New York or Massachusetts. The King's Council 
appears to have considered it in the nature of a waiver and 


Memorial Hall, Library Building, Hartford 


dropped the quo warranto threat against the charter itself. The 
point here is that this definitely locates a charter parchment in 
1686-7. It remained for Librarian Albert C. Bates of the Con- 
necticut Historical Society in very recent years to trace this out. 
When the copy then in England reached Hartford cannot be de- 
termined; it might not have been till a number of years there- 
after, for experience had taught that it was well to keep a copy in 
London for reference. It made no stir when it came, playing the 
part of "second fiddle" to the one that had been so joyously 
greeted and had been hidden in the oak. 

A young Trinity College student who became secretary of the 
state in 1858, unwittingly revealed it after rescuing it from muti- 
lation in the interests of feminine art. The student was John 
Boyd of Winsted. He was boarding in the family of Rev. Dr. 
Flint of the South Church. One day he saw a piece of old parch- 
ment on the sewing stand of the doctor's mother. She told him 
it had been brought to her by Mrs. Wyllys to use as cardboard in 
making over a hat and gave it to him in return for a simple sub- 
stitute. Not till eight years afterward did he inspect it and dis- 
cover that it was a large remnant of the charter, already started 
on the road to ruin. 

What has added to the misapprehension in history is the use 
of the word "duplicate." Both charters were "duplicate" accord- 
ing to custom and as appears on the face of each. It was as though 
the issue had been: "One charter in duplicate." The question of 
which was the technical duplicate was not settled till 1898, when 
Rev. Dr. Love obtained a copy of the record of May 10, 1662, 
from the accounts of the Hanaper in London, showing that the 
fee for the original was £5 and for the engrosser's copy "XXs — 
iiij." Comparison with the marginal notations on the parchments 
made it clear that the duplicate which Andros would have seized 
was the one that had been honored in history and romance and 
that the one that had stood ready for duty in England was the 
original duplicate. Withal in the second duplicate a small word 
had been omitted by the copyist, and it is omitted in the various 
copies that have been made by students, indicating that the first 
duplicate was still in oblivion. Winthrop's purpose in leaving the 
first duplicate in London quite likely had been to furnish the 
strongest evidence should question arise about the wording, as 
was possible in those times, considering the sweep of its liber- 

12— VOL. i 


ality. It now rests in its box, in the rooms of the Connecticut 
Historical Society at the Atheneum. 

The Charter Oak had been prized by the Indians before the 
white men came and had been spared by the settlers at their re- 
quest. The natives said it long had indicated to them by the size 
of its new leaves the time to plant their corn, while under its 
branches they held their councils. The Wyllys estate passed to 
Stephen Bulkeley, descendant of Gershom Bulkeley, and then to 
his daughter, wife of Hon. Isaac W. Stuart. Mr. Stuart cared for 
the oak diligently till a strong wind blew it down August 21, 1856. 
Its rings, it is said, indicated a life of 1,000 years. Pieces of the 
tree were highly prized. One large section was given to the state, 
from which Albert Entress carved the lieutenant governor's chair 
which ever since has adorned the platform in the Senate chamber. 
A tablet, placed by the Society of Colonial Wars, now indicates 
where the majestic tree stood. 

Governor Treat wrote the new King, rejoicing in his having 
come to the throne and saying that government was continuing 
under the charter though with some uneasiness because of the 
methods adopted by the late King, but reminding His Majesty 
that "we never resigned our charter, nor was it condemned;" 
therefore he entreated that the instrument be formally confirmed. 
While the request never was granted, the law officers of the realm 
declared Andros' usurpation illegal and the charter intact. Ply- 
mouth lost her colony independence to Massachusetts, which also 
included Maine, all under the governorship of the sailor adven-« 
turer, Sir William Phipps. 

However it was not to be long before there came the much-to- 
be-resented demand for control of Connecticut's militia. When 
King Louis of France had been aroused by the dethronement of 
his friend King James, and England saw design to spread the 
power of the Roman Catholic Church, Connecticut, retaining her 
control, responded graciously. Governor Leisler in New York 
feared French and Indian attacks to the extent that Capt. Thomas 
Bull of Hartford with a few men was sent to Schenectady to help 
the New York defenders. In the massacre that followed five of 
Bull's men were killed and others captured, through no fault of 
their own. The next spring Hartford County men joined the 
contingent for the expedition against Quebec, FitzJohn Winthrop 


in command. Leisler's failure to do his part made it necessary to 
abandon the undertaking. 

In 1692, Benjamin Fletcher as governor of New York main- 
tained the royal prerogative to control all the soldiery of the 
colonies and therefore treated Connecticut's sentiments with con- 
tempt. He came himself to Hartford in October, 1693, to make 
demand upon the General Assembly, and when the train bands 
were assembled and Fletcher ordered that his commission and 
purpose be read to them, tradition has it that Capt. Joseph Wads- 
worth again distinguished himself by causing the drums to make 
a deafening roar and by threatening Fletcher personally. The 
tradition has far outrun an official pamphlet published by author- 
ity of the General Assembly in 1694, under the title "Connecticut 
Vindicated," in which it was asserted that the royalists in New 
York, after the fashion of the day, were publishing pamphlets to 
bring the colony into disrepute in England and that it was they 
who were trying to create the impression that the colonists at 
Hartford were discourteous to the King's representative. In 
"vindicating" Connecticut, the General Assembly's pamphlet said 
that there were "no armed men" on that occasion. "A training 
was in hand" but not by the governor's order; no one rose against 
his excellency and matters were not at all "as suggested to 

In 1693, 150 men were sent from Connecticut to assist Gov- 
ernor Fletcher, and on his appeal the following year, supplies of 
food and £500, — from the people who successfully resisted his 
attempts at military control over them. By the time of the peace 
in 1697, the colony had spent £12,000 or a sum equal to one-tenth 
of its grand list. Among the minor relief expeditions were those 
of Capt. William Whiting with sixty fusileers and forty Indians 
for the northeastern frontier at request of Governor Phipps, and 
the same Hartford County officer with a company of dragoons 
for the defense of Albany. Lieut. Stephen Hollister of Wethers- 
field led an expedition of forty men to quiet an up-river alarm. 

The colony's devotion to Gov. John Winthrop's son was strong, 
especially after the Schenectady affair when Leisler, who had 
ruined the campaign, put Winthrop in confinement for court mar- 
tial, from which he was released by the wrathful Mohawks. 
Moreover he was a good soldier, having had experience in the 


Parliamentary army in Scotland, and also he was the man who 
had preserved the colony's rights. For it was in 1693 that he had 
gone to England to argue against Fletcher's usurpation of rights 
under the charter his own father had secured. He won the de- 
cision of the court that the charter never had been invalidated 
and his reply to Fletcher formulated the Connecticut sentiment 
which has remained constant. It said that whoever commanded 
the persons in a colony would also command the purse and be the 
governor; that there was such a connection between the civil 
authority and the command of the militia that "one could not 
exist without the other." While the colony was willing to grant 
use of the militia, there could be no conscription under royal 
order, and troops must be officered by men named by the colony's 

King William's war was the first but far from being the last 
in which the colonists attested their loyalty to England. History 
must bring out the harsher events of the ages but it is not com- 
plete if it does not furnish the reader's mind with a conception of 
general mental attitude throughout each of its periods. These 
people who established and maintained their free government 
loved the ties of kinship with those across the water. Their senti- 
ment was deeply reciprocated by the masses and also by certain 
of those in high positions through the various changes in govern- 
mental control. Colonization was a comparatively new thing for 
what was to become the mighty empire. The judgment of one 
generation was not that of another. While there seemed to some 
to have opened up a wholly unsuspected field for graft and 
aggrandizement, others, of the noblest of the realm, brought to 
the subject of American colonies their most constructive ability, 
gave of their sympathies and in person braved the self-denial if 
not actual hardship in the new land. 

As a whole the English people were heart and soul with the 
pioneers, eager for every item of news from them, while the 
frequent official reports to the Board of Trade were solemnly 
discussed and carefully preserved. The reports would make dry 
reading, but in them is the complete story, quaintly told, of the 
growth of business and commerce, of the increase in population 
and of their method of taxation. There was no more clashing of 
creeds than there was in the home country, and matters of this 
sort could not figure in material reports, being left, rather, to 


those who were active participants and could write their own 
statements to those similarly interested across the water. The 
old nation and that which was to be the new were feeling their 
way, impeded at times by foolish hands not always of their own 
blood but never with such persistent and far-reaching blunders as 
have proved the destruction of other states. At the close of its 
birth-century, the outlook for Hartford County, even in its Con- 
necticut independence, even in its respectful adherence to free 
thought and resolution, was favorable. It owed fealty to no flag 
but England's. This must be remembered by those who study the 
events of the following century which led to separation. 




In the intervals of peace in the eighteenth century, the county 
rather better than the rest of the colony gradually worked itself 
out of the condition of what was known colloquially in New Eng- 
land as "hard scrabble." The appeal of the General Court for 
raising the means to pay the expenses for procuring the charter 
is an illustration of the every-day struggle for subsistence when 
English currency was scarce. The colonists were besought, in a 
matter-of-fact way, to get together all they could of agricultural 
products, tar and other material for shipbuilding and whatever 
else the wilderness could yield, and send it to New London to be 
shipped to England. 

Taxes yielded barely enough for routine needs; in cases of 
emergency there had to be recourse to what now are known as 
"drives," and at each one every man gave "till it hurt." Those 
who like Winthrop, Haynes and Hopkins had comparatively inde- 
pendent means were generous, but it was part of the principle of 
the government that all should share the burdens. The demands 
came to increase heavily with the expenses for King Philip's war, 
and in 1676 the General Assembly appointed a committee to fix 
valuations. The rate then was raised from 1 pence to 18 pence. 
In Hartford, home lots were valued at 40 shillings an acre; im- 
proved uplands at 25 shillings on the "north side" and 20 shillings 
on the "south side," and the meadows at 50 shillings for one-half 
and 40 shillings for the other. Paying taxes was somewhat like 
buying stock in a corporation; distribution of undivided land or 
land forfeited through failure to utilize it or inability to bear the 
tax was made in proportion to the amount each man paid in taxes, 
thereby relieving the poorer inhabitants and, while placing the 



chief burden on the wealthier, giving them the prospect of the 
later yield. 

The General Court had come to permit individual towns to 
make their own distributions among inhabitants, as in the case of 
present East Hartford, but one result was that in 1723 it was 
necessary to pass a healing act, confirming old titles which had 
become uncertain because of the original method of assigning cer- 
tain amounts to "proprietors" or to others as free gift "in 
courtesy." When the word "inhabitants" began to assume its 
present meaning, they felt a right to obtain and hold ownership, 
by allotment after joint purchase. Such was the case in East 
Hartford when land was bought from Uncas' son-in-law in 1682 
and later along the Bolton border, as will be seen in the history of 
that region; that not assigned pro rata was held as commons. 
A similar idea in Hartford's western division created litigation in 
1754 that was long and searching. Measurement according to the 
amount of taxes paid let in inhabitants not heirs of early pro- 
prietors, and the litigation was between them as claimants and 
the heirs as owners since early days. 

But a new feature had developed in this instance, namely, that 
when Andros was about to come to take over all New England, 
the General Assembly saw that he would have a right to assert 
specific and particular royal control over all undivided land; 
therefore the Assembly appointed committees in each town to 
arrange to receive that undivided land, which included much in 
the territory to the west of Hartford County's confines — to be 
mentioned further on, — and have it taken up in order by the 
inhabitants. One purpose of the law of 1723 was to confirm that 
cleverly devised plan. Along Hartford's western border was a 
strip a mile and a half long which in 1672 it had been voted to 
divide, leaving the rest a commons — "forever." The lots were 
laid out in 1674. By 1753, steps were taken to lay out the "com- 
mons." Heirs and plain "inhabitants" clashed. The litigation 
ended in the upper court by a jury decision for the heirs if the law 
provided that those who had purchased the land were invested 
with the fee thereto, and in 1755 it was found that the law did so 
provide. This was a precedent for other cases till finally, it is 
understood, the inhabitants whose allotments had been ques- 
tioned, including some of the original heirs themselves, bought 
the heirs' rights, and ownership thereafter could pass freely. 


Prior to this incident of Hartford litigation was the more sen- 
sational matter of the distribution of the large and more western 
territory snatched from Andros' grasp. For a time it shared in 
importance if not in peril with the French-Indian alarms. The 
ambition of the county to be putting its possessions in better 
shape was clearly indicated by the little that was done during 
this war period. After Wethersfield had been divided in 1690 by 
setting off Glastonbury on the east side of the gnawing Connecti- 
cut, it had been the intention to open up the western holdings for 
the orderly settlement which pioneering and Indian buying was 
making essential. The territory, running west from Farmington 
and Simsbury to the Housatonic, was bounded on the north by 
Massachusetts and on the south by Woodbury and Mattatuck 
(Waterbury). Steps were taken in 1707 to make the survey and 
arrive at agreements, but nothing substantial could be done till 
after Queen Anne's war and the Indian terror. New committees 
were appointed in 1713 for Hartford and Windsor, the towns to 
which the territory had been assigned, and four years later New 
Bantam (Litchfield) was laid out. After settlement with Farm- 
ington men who forehandedly had made purchases from the 
Indians, this layout was confirmed but with proviso that the sec- 
tion north of Woodbury and Litchfield should be left for further 
disposal by the Assembly. 

Request by Hartford and Windsor to settle more of the west- 
ern sections met with no recorded response from the legislators. 
Nevertheless in 1720 Ensign Thomas Seymour and Sergeant 
James Ensign were sent to buy of the natives, and then a list of 
the purchasers in the towns was made with view to future appor- 
tionment. By 1723 the committees reported another tract ready 
to be laid out — in sixty-seven allotments to be sold at £6 each. 
The committees were among the prominent men of the colony but 
the Assembly, suspicious of graft, ordered their arrest, and that 
too not by the King's attorney of Hartford County but of New 
Haven County. Hartford County rose in protest; New Haven 
officials were ordered to make the arrests forthwith; Hartford 
parried by directing Joseph Talcott (son of Col. John Talcott 
and later governor), Capt. Hezekiah Wyllys, Lieut. Thomas Sey- 
mour and James Ensign to present the subject before the Assem- 
bly. Their compromise plan being rejected, it was voted in 1726 
that Hartford and Windsor should have only the eastern part of 


the tract and the colony the western part, Litchfield to belong to 
the "proprietors." This gave the two towns the present Cole- 
brook, Hartland, Winchester, Barkhamsted, Torrington, New 
Hartford and Harwintown, and also Litchfield, for the proprie- 
tors, a total of 326,800 acres. The colony's portion was only 
120,000 acres, but the thought was to get settlement under way 
without more dickering. 

The lands having been annexed to the county, Capt. Thomas 
Seymour and Lieut. Roger Newberry as a committee prepared 
the layout by which Windsor received Colebrook, Barkhamsted, 
Farmington and the western half of Harwinton, and Hartford 
the rest. Each taxpayer of the two towns received, by his list of 
1620, a share in the new townships, in proportion to his list at 
the rate of three acres to the pound. The colony's portion was 
sold and the proceeds devoted in perpetuity to the schools in the 
towns then settled. Litchfield County was established in 1751. 

Hartford County was decreased in size when Windham County 
was established in 1726; in 1728, Waterbury's request to be 
annexed to New Haven County was granted. Norfolk and Salis- 
bury were sold at auction in Hartford in 1738. 

The possibilities in reaches of territory were constantly in 
mind as when in the '50s Phineas Lyman, of Sumeld, who had 
been a leader in the Massachusetts boundary affair, Roger Wol- 
cott, Jr., and others obtained from the Assembly rights to form 
the Susquehanna Company to go out into Pennsylvania's neigh- 
borhood, but within the region named in the charter, and estab- 
lish Wyoming, since tillable land in Connecticut had been well 
taken up. 

Another of the real estate transactions which earlier tested 
war-ruffled tempers was the strife relative to Joshua's will in 
1722. Joshua, third son of Uncas, whose remarkable will figures 
also in East Hartford history, in 1676 bequeathed much of his 
land in present Tolland and Windham counties to men of East 
Hartford, Hartford and Windsor, reserving his special hunting 
grounds for his sons. Capt. James Fi f ii of Norwich and Rev. 
Thomas Buckingham, then of Saybrook, were the administrators. 
In 1706 the Hartford legatees and in 1715 the Windsor legatees 
for Tolland received grants of township privileges. Previously 
Capt. Jeremiah Fitch of Norwich had bought of a Windsor settler 
in the Coventry section land that had been left by one of Joshua's 


sons to Maj. John Clarke and Rev. Mr. Buckingham. Clarke 
sued and won. Upon Fitch's refusal to surrender he was brought 
to Hartford jail, whereupon his squatter-sovereign neighbors 
marched to Hartford, broke in the jail doors, and, standing off 
Colonel Whiting, the sheriff, and his large posse at the foot of 
present Ferry Street, made their way home in triumph. All the 
jail prisoners were liberated. Later fifteen of the rioters were 
tried in Special Court and were convicted, but Captain Fitch, the 
storm center, was acquitted on the ground that he had had no 
hand in the affair. The outbreak is the more important because 
it is an illustration of the lawlessness which was developing in 
contrast with the previous behavior of the people. 

The contest over the location of Yale College in the second 
decade of the century was another illustration, as affecting those 
in high station, men of the kind who previously had revered and 
upheld the Legislature. It grew out of the proposal to remove 
the "collegiate school" from Saybrook to New Haven for reasons 
that long had appealed to those who had the best interests of the 
institution at heart. Hartford's bid for it was based on incon- 
venience in transportation between the counties, ignoring the 
ambitions and preparations of Eaton's colony for many years. 
The town offered a sum of money and Rev. Timothy Woodbridge 
and Rev. Thomas Buckingham, his fellow pastor of the Second 
Church, worked for the plan. Inasmuch as Wethersfield's great 
man, Elisha Williams, was establishing a very commendable school 
in Wethersfield, that town became their first choice as the combat 
thickened, and inasmuch as they both were members of the board 
of trustees, it was felt that their wishes should have special 
weight. The board voted that those students who were "uneasy" 
might go to other places than Saybrook till the next commence- 
ment. Some of them went home and some to Wethersfield. Sam- 
uel Smith of Glastonbury, who had been appointed the third tutor 
at Yale, was induced to go to Mr. Williams' branch. It came 
about that there were fourteen pupils at Wethersfield, thirteen 
at New Haven and three or four at Saybrook. In 1716 four 
students were graduated at New Haven and one (Isaac Burr of 
Hartford) at Wethersfield. Some of the students were studying 
in Hartford and the senior class was living with Rector Samuel 
Andrews at Milford. 


New Haven bid as high as £700 and late in 1716 won the vote 
of the trustees who also voted to begin at once a school building 
and a rector's house. It was while these were being built in 1718 
that Elihu Yale of London, governor of the East India Company, 
made his gift of books, goods and money, and others contributed. 
The new building was named "Yale College." At commencement 
that year eight received diplomas in New Haven and five (includ- 
ing Jonathan Edwards of South Windsor, the great theologian 
of the century) at Wethersfield. Soon after, the latter group 
received full recognition as members of the New Haven class. 
Meantime, the Assembly, "to quiet the minds of the people and 
introduce a general harmony into public affairs," — words that 
picture the colony's anxiety over the disruptions — voted "that a 
state house should be built at Hartford to compensate for the 
college at New Haven; that £25 sterling should be given to Say- 
brook for the use of the school, to compensate for the removal of 
the college," and that the governor and council should see to the 
removal of the library from Saybrook to New Haven. The orders 
of the governor and council were so vigorously opposed in Say- 
brook and vicinity that the sheriff and his men got the books only 
after a hot encounter ; bridges were torn down, the wagons were 
attacked and robbed and many valuable books and papers were 
destroyed in the week's journey to New Haven. The up-river 
opposition subsided, but when the two local trustees were elected 
to the Assembly the next year in recognition of their services, they 
were not allowed to take their seats. The Wethersfield school 
continued for only a short time and in 1722 Rev. Mr. Williams 
was made rector pro tempore in New Haven, on the removal of 
Rector Cutler. 

It was in 1717 that the General Assembly took up the subject 
of purchases from the Indians without legislative sanction. A 
committee was appointed to consider previous purchases. Indi- 
viduals had bought with clothing, tools and so forth, but for the 
future the colony would do the buying, and all in the name of the 
Crown. As previously remarked, the Indians were wont to think 
they were selling simply hunting rights. 

Court decisions were no great deterrent to litigation. Free- 
dom of opinion was strongly implanted in many minds. A statute 
relative to rioters, drunkards and other undesirable citizens de- 


creed that "common barrators, which frequently move, stir up 
and maintain suits of law in court, or quarrels and parts in the 
country, shall give security for their good behavior, or be sent to 
the common gaol." It was during Talcott's administration that 
the Assembly declared that "many persons had taken upon them 
to be attorneys at the bar, so that quarrels and lawsuits were 
multiplied and the King's good subjects disturbed." For a time 
the number of lawyers was limited. 

There was little general knowledge of the English law, such 
as Ludlow had had, and the process of adapting it to local circum- 
stances was slow. Judge Tapping Reeve, who practiced a year in 
Hartford before opening America's first law school in Litchfield 
in 1772, was yet to come. There were, nevertheless, brainy men 
who availed themselves of meagre opportunities. Barring two 
permitted to practice regularly under the Andros regime, the first 
to be appointed in the county were Roger Wolcott of Windsor, 
who became chief judge of the Superior Court, Capt. John Wads- 
worth, of Farmington, Capt. Thomas Welles of Wethersfield 
(grandson of Governor Thomas Welles), and Richard Edwards 
of Windsor, ancestor of the two Presidents Jonathan Edwards, 
of Governor Henry W. Edwards, of Judge Ogden Edwards of 
New York, of Pierpont Edwards of Connecticut, of Aaron Burr 
and of other leaders at the bar and in the church. Those appoint- 
ments were in 1708. The next year the appointments were of 
Capt. Joseph Wadsworth of charter fame, Thomas Olcott and 
Capt. Aaron Cook, Sr., all of Hartford, and Samuel Moore, of 
Windsor. In the immediately succeeding years there were 
appointed Edward Bulkeley of Wethersfield, son of Gershom 
Bulkeley, Daniel Hooker of Hartford, who became the first tutor 
at Yale; Thomas Kimberly, of Glastonbury, for a few years 
colonial secretary and for a long period a teacher in Wethersfield ; 
Capt. Thomas Stoughton of East Windsor; John Bissell of Hart- 
ford; and Peletiah Mills, the chief boniface of Windsor. Lieut. 
Samuel Pettibone, Jr., in 1729, was the first lawyer for Simsbury, 
and in that year John Curtis was appointed in Wethersfield. When 
the law was passed in 1730 that there should be but three lawyers 
in the county and two in each of the other counties, the Hartford 
appointees were Curtis, Joseph Gilbert of Hartford and Roger 
Wolcott, Jr., of Windsor. The limitation of number was removed 
after one year's trial. 


It can but be observed that the self-government was feeling its 
way. Foundations for the present day were being laid on experi- 
ence. Judicial as well as legislative and regulatory powers were 
vested in the General Court. New requirements were met 
thoughtfully and precedents established with care more wonder- 
fully in evidence when one keeps in mind the frequent expeditions 
for war. The Fundamental Orders were sufficiently elastic to 
admit of the functions which the inexperienced self-government 
had to assume and to alter. The early division of the Court into 
magistrates and deputies became more distinctly the upper house 
(the Governor and Council) and the lower house, after the ab- 
sorption of New Haven in 1664 when the title "General Assembly" 
was assumed. Power ran from the Legislature downward to the 
towns and it was not till generations later, as will be seen else- 
where, that the Legislature could not supersede courts. 

Again from the beginning, it was perceived that the General 
Court could not assemble to meet the oft-recurring judiciary re- 
quirements, so a "Particular Court" was appointed for the trial 
of the less important cases. Later it was the "Quarter Court," 
meeting quarterly. The grand jury system was inaugurated in 
1643. In 1647 it was ordered that the trial court should consist 
of the governor, deputy-governor and two magistrates, or of 
three magistrates if the executives were absent. Town courts, 
for minor cases, consisted of from three to six men chosen yearly 
— later the selectmen, with a moderator to preside. 

With the advent of the charter and the formation of the coun- 
ties, Hartford, New Haven, New London and Fairfield, the Court 
of Assistants succeeded the Quarter Courts, the members being 
composed of "assistants," formerly known as "magistrates," to 
meet semi-annually. In 1685 came the County Courts, each com- 
posed of three assistants and two commissioners or "justices of 
the peace," appointed by the Assembly. From 1698 to 1821 there 
was one judge and from two to five justices of the peace for the 
County Courts; till 1839, three judges; in 1839 and till 1853, when 
County Courts were abolished, a county commissioner was added. 
In this latter year the make-up of such courts was one judge and 
two or three commissioners. 

The Superior Court succeeded the Court of Assistants in 1711, 
to meet in each county, the governor as chief judge sitting with 
four of the Council. In power it became a step higher than the 


County Court. By 1784 it was found necessary to establish a 
Supreme Court of Errors for decision of questions of law and 
equity coming up from the Superior Court. For this the lieu- 
tenant-governor and council were named and the governor later 
was made a member. When cases became too numerous, the 
Superior Court judges were ordered to assume the duties of the 
Supreme Court, originally with one chief judge and a number of 
assistants which was changed from time to time, till 1865 it was 
made four and is now six, and fifteen in the Superior Court itself, 
with election by the Legislature for terms of eight years, on nomi- 
nation by the governor, retirement compulsory at age 70. Wil- 
liam Pitkin of Hartford was chief judge in 1713; his son, Gov- 
ernor William Pitkin, in 1754, and his son, Gen. William Pitkin, 
in 1789. 

The first special structure for a state house was decided upon 
in 1717 when it was voted to sell ungranted lands for the purpose, 
and in 1719 an appropriation of £500 was made, after the contro- 
versy over the location of Yale College, as previously men- 
tioned. This was to be expended by William Pitkin, Joseph Tal- 
cott and Aaron Cook as a committee, for a building on the west 
side of Meeting-house Yard, seventy feet long and thirty feet 
wide and twenty-four feet between joints, Hartford County to 
pay £250 toward finishing it. There were to be chambers at each 
end for the respective houses of the Assembly, with a twelve-foot 
hall between them and a stairway "into the garrets," and on 
either side a lobby to the Council chamber. With gambrel roof it 
was the last word in the architecture of that day, serving till the 
"Bulfinch" State House was built in 1795. When New Haven 
became joint capital in 1701, a state house was built on the green 

The Capitol fronted on Queen Street, now Main Street; State 
Street was then King Street. The public market, open and pro- 
vided with stalls, was on the south side of the yard where it was 
continued for many years. The meeting-house to the east of the 
yard had a hip roof and a tower in which was the bell which had 
been brought from Newtown. The bell broke in 1725 and was 
sent to England for repairs. Queen Street was much wider than 
the present Main Street; beginning with John Talcott's permis- 
sion in 1644 to build a cart house in front of his house lot (near 

Drawn from descriptions preserved in the records 


t™ ."_:-_ 

-.■~~:_" — _ ~ '-~ '" - : 



■ J 7W - ■-— - 

-"■; '--& "■ 





" ■ : - 


ill'. .1l " ; '~ -.-—«— . ■ 

=iC.'.'i. T 3^*^ 



HH&" mi 

•'.g'«.'r-' a g* ; £'j??^u t jfa 



'' jj ' ••• *'• 


■h^" 1 ' 1 '" " *^^t~tfft M " ' 

|Eg: js§|l|||| 


zzzzr s — ^ , , ~&~\ ~b^ 


One of the first arch bridges in the country. Farmers would not risk 

it. In distance, old Daniels grist mill and first dam in the county. 

Looking west on Park River. (Ancient sketch by J. W. Barber.) 


the present corner of Talcott Street) encroachments had con- 
tinued till the Assembly took action as the town had done in 1683. 
But encroachments on the yard, which originally covered the area 
from Grove Street to Kinsley Street, continued. The pair of 
stocks which the law in 1706 required every town to maintain 
were located in the yard near the church, as likewise the some- 
what gnarled log, mounted on four legs, known as the "wooden 
horse," astride which culprits had to sit. For perjury, a guilty 
man who could not pay the heavy fine was placed in the stocks 
an hour with his ears nailed. In 1785, for horse-stealing a man 
had to ride the horse half an hour, receive fifteen stripes, pay £10, 
go to the workhouse for three months and on Monday mornings 
of the first month, ride the horse and be whipped. 

What today is called the "Ancient Cemetery" was suffering 
from neglect, even as it was to do before its final restoration late 
in the nineteenth century. It became necessary in 1712 to adopt 
a regulation prohibiting driving over the grounds, and, after 
vegetation thus had gained an opportunity, it was fenced in as a 
convenient place for keeping sheep and calves. Forty-four years 
later it was fenced again and the vote ordered that it be kept up 
with as little expense as possible. The brick school building, else- 
where referred to, was erected at its northeast corner in 1771. 

In the first quarter of the eighteenth century and on, the Little 
River problem assumed proportions as distressful in their way 
as those immediately antedating the building of the present Con- 
necticut River stone bridge. The first ferry for many years had 
been a private enterprise. Bissell's ferry at Windsor, used for 
the Boston route, had enjoyed the encouragement of the General 
Court, and Edward Stebbins and Thomas Cadwell were doubtless 
conducting a similar business at Hartford, especially after the 
beginning of the cultivation of the East Side meadows. Produce 
and livestock had to be transported. The "proprietors," it is 
known, owned in common one large boat. In 1715 there was a 
boat on each side. The town had voted for a public ferry in 1681 
and Thomas Cadwell had been given the franchise for seven 
years. He had a warehouse at the landing at the foot of Ferry 
Street. His widow and then his son continued the business. The 
one complaint was about the disturbances caused by those who 
had to come from the East Side to attend church services in Hart- 
ford prior to the granting of the petition for a church on the East 

13— VOL. 1 


Side in 1694. The charge for the franchise, which was held thirty- 
seven years by the Cadwells, was £10 a year. Daniel Messenger 
secured the rights at £13 in 1726. The following year the town 
began importuning the General Assembly for a lease, but in vain. 
The privileges now went to the highest bidder, and he could afford 
to pay well because of the liquor traffic at the landings. Another 
ferry was opened to the southward by the then lessee, in 1757, 
yet competition sprang up. The town committee was authorized 
to make a lease in 1769, inhabitants to have free passage to and 
from church and on public business. Till the bridge was built in 
1810, there was sufficient traffic to support more ferries. 

A similar problem of these times and during the great agita- 
tion and expense of the colonial wars (to be considered further 
on) was that of the passage over Little River for people of the 
North Side and South Side who were finding more and more in- 
terests in common. When the town established its first grist mill 
near the palisado on the north side of the "rivulet" by buying 
Edward Hopkins' mill east of the ford, in 1666, and building one 
beside it, the only certain means of crossing was at the ford on 
the rocky ledge still visible near Hudson Street and by a crude 
ferry further down-stream. That was the beginning of the mill 
center along both sides of the stream, rights in which were con- 
spicuous in financial and industrial history till a recent date. A 
kind of bridge had been built there earlier but could not with- 
stand the high water and was therefore a heavy expense. When 
the Second Church was erecting its edifice on the south side, its 
members urged a better and more enduring bridge nearer the 
Main Street line. In the distractions of the day, matters dragged. 
Much as in the case of the great stone bridge over 200 years later, 
they were brought to a head in 1672 by the burning of what then 
served as a bridge. Two men were charged with arson but 
escaped conviction; there was no popular lament. The bridge 
that took the place of this one went out with the next flood. Its 
successor followed it. By 1728 exhausted patience insisted upon 
a more pretentious structure at a cost of £300. Good work was 
done but the series had to be continued, and that, too, despite an 
especially strong one built by lottery money in 1804. The destruc- 
tive power of Little River when reinforced at flood-time by the 
set-back of the Connecticut River defied the engineers, and the 


items of repairs and rebuilding continued to appear in the reports 
of town meetings. It was not till 1832 that the seemingly extrava- 
gant ideas of the most advanced engineers prevailed and the first 
stone-arch bridge of the country was built, as good today as it 
was the day it was dedicated, fearful as were the farmers for 
many years to drive their loads across it. It was twenty feet east 
of the site of the earlier bridges and it was necessary to raise the 
highway five feet at the north end to make a proper level. The 
vicinity was a more popular business resort than ever. 

Largely for the purpose of meeting the frequent outlays for 
bridges at this point, the town began leasing land on both sides 
of the stream. In the 1700s these leases were for about twenty 
years; after the Revolution, they were for 999 years. In 1824, 
when inducement was being made to locate Washington (Trinity) 
College in Hartford, and eight years before the expensive arch 
bridge was constructed, the decision was won for Hartford by 
quit-claiming its rental and fee to the amount of $5,000 to the 
promoters of the institution. 

The colony did not encourage manufacturing and England 
naturally objected strongly to it. Each house was its own factory 
and the women were the "hands." The house-lot grass of a morn- 
ing was covered with bleeching linen, the meadows with rotting 
flax and the sunny walls of the house with strings of sliced apples 
to dry. They represented only a moderate surplus of the good- 
wife's work by candle light the previous evening. In the daylight 
hours, after meals had been cooked over the open fire, the butter 
churned, the cheese squeezed dry, the washing done at the big 
bench by the back door in water drawn by bucket from the well, 
the tallow poured into candle molds, the lye set to drain from the 
chiseled stone slab, the flax hetcheled and spun, skeins of wool 
and flax hung on the walls, other skeins reeled off for use on the 
big looms which some one must keep in almost constant operation 
to supply clothing and blankets and sheets and curtains, and the 
cows milked, there was a few moments' respite for supper and 
then the evening routine, the prayer and Bible-reading at 9 o'clock 
usually supplementing those of the early morning. Customarily 
the reading was consecutive, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, 
"begat" by "begat." Between planting and harvest, the black- 


smiths were hammering out the hoes, shovels, axes, scythes, plow- 
shares, and shoemakers were on their neighborhood rounds. 

Copper ore, much of it in the bog, was found in Windsor, 
Granby, Simsbury and Bristol, but supplies were not large and 
facilities and laws were discouraging. Deposits of feldspar in 
South Glastonbury were yet to become valuable. Alluvial deposit 
produced crops which by 1750 put the tax rate at 15 shillings an 
acre as against less than half that in other counties. This was 
the soil which by 1845 was to rank first in production of tobacco 
(90 per cent), Indian corn, rye, fruit and hay. The first charter 
privileges for mining in America were granted for works at 
present East Granby in 1709 where mining had been going on 
for six or seven years. The ore shipped to London showed 20 per 
cent copper with admixture of gold and silver but it was difficult 
to separate the quartz, and as England would allow no smelter 
and the hazard and expense of transportation counted heavily, 
the mine was closed by attachment. Such was the beginning of 
the famous Newgate mine and prison, elsewhere described. Sam- 
uel Higby in 1728 obtained a ten-years' monopoly on the manu- 
facture of steel by a "curious art" he had discovered "to trans- 
mute common iron into good steel." He finally abandoned this, 
as also did Thomas Fitch and others who took up the enterprise 

William and Edward Pattison of Ireland, who had settled in 
Berlin, might be considered the founders of Connecticut sales- 
manship — the first "Yankee tin-peddlers." In 1740 they began 
making tin kitchen utensils after the fashion they were familiar 
with at home. The delight of their neighbors led Edward to quit 
farming and go on the road with such pans and pails as he could 
accommodate on his horse's back. Thus an enterprise was started 
which gave Connecticut fame to the most remote sections of the 
colonies and a principle of salesmanship established which was 
to put America in the lead among the nations. Carts and four- 
horse covered wagons in turn succeeded the saddled mare, supply 
stations throughout the land were constructed, while the glitter 
of the wares and the rattle of the pretentious vehicles were the 
substantial advertising equivalent of printer's ink today, good 
workmanship being the foundation. 

Enough activity in ship timber enabled the General Assembly 
in 1715 to increase revenue (for wars and other purposes) by im- 


posing a tariff by the hundred pounds on all importations by non- 
residents. Twenty years later, there being fears of deforestation 
and, perhaps, incidentally, an increasing need of revenue, an ex- 
port duty was placed on pipe (hogshead) staves, clapboards and 
tar, and in 1741 the size of staves was fixed by law, with inspec- 
tors in every town. So pressing did the needs become that in 
1747 a tariff was imposed on all imports of over £15 in value from 
other colonies and also from England and Ireland. A tariff on 
lumber had been suspended because of protest. 

Whereas in 1680 there was but one ship of ninety tons regis- 
tered in the colony, and in all there was an even score of petty 
merchants, and in 1730, four vessels of from thirty-five to sixty 
tons burthen were made in the North Meadow Brook; in 1750 
there were seventy registered vessels. The number of ratable 
persons in 1654 was 177; in 1761, by the selectmen's census, there 
were 868 whites and sixty-eight blacks in Hartford North Side, 
and 720 whites and sixty-eight blacks South Side; 1,158 all told 
in East Hartford and 653 in the Western Division, a grand total 
of 3,938 in the town. Windsor and Farmington were somewhat 

And yet there were those who believed the colony was headed 
toward bankruptcy, and all because of these women whose daily 
labors have just been referred to. Thus wrote a correspondent 
in the Courant in 1765 : 

"Who without the most melancholy apprehension can be- 
hold in this poor colony a thousand ladies, each of whom 
costs not less than £30 per annum in board, clothing and at- 
tendance, half of which she does not earn? Here is a clear 
annual loss of more than £15,000, which together with the ill 
example of about 1000 pairs of idle hands gives us a too sure 
presage of speedily obtaining the appellation of a bankrupt 
A western post ran from Boston through Connecticut and 
New York to Pennsylvania once a week in summer and fort- 
nightly in winter, a vast improvement over the haphazard service 
from Boston established by the Penny Post in 1694. In 1755 
there was a post rider between New Haven and Hartford each 
week-end. John Walker, with office on Main Street not far from 
the State House, was local postmaster in 1764, and New London 
was added to the postal list three years later. The first formally 
commissioned postmaster was William Ellery, appointed by Ben- 


jamin Franklin and Thomas Foxcroft, postmasters-general by 
royal appointment, in 1768, or four years after the Courant was 
born. The post office store was near the Little River (or 
"Great") bridge. There was only one mail a week till 1786. 
Ellery was postmaster most of the time till he resigned in 1777. 
Thomas Hilldrup's succeeding administration was marked by so 
many changes of location as to create ridicule. After the inaugu- 
ration of the national post system in 1790 and the appointment 
of Ezekiel Williams, the location was more certain, at about the 
corner of Main and Grove streets, and conduct of business more 
systematic. In 1717 Capt. John Munson was allowed the mo- 
nopoly of carrying goods and passengers by coach between New 
Haven and Hartford for seven years, running once a week ex- 
cept in winter. Stage coaches began running to Boston and New 
York in 1752. 

Of the colored population enumerated in the selectmen's cen- 
sus only a few were slaves ; what there were were retained in the 
families, there being no traffic, and under the law owners were 
obliged to care for them in their old age. The imitations of white 
men's doing furnished much amusement. They held their regu- 
lar "training days," under the command of an elaborately 
equipped "general" and the men in the ranks were uniformed 
grotesquely. From 1770 till about 1820 they elected and pre- 
tentiously inaugurated a "governor," usually an outstanding 
Negro whose word was law among his constituents and whose 
henchmen were "justices of the peace." The punishments in- 
flicted at the South Green were enough to hold the careless in re- 
straint. After Governor Philip Skene of Skenesborough, Vt., was 
brought here as a prisoner in the Ticonderoga campaign of 1775, 
his body servant Cuff gained popularity. His election as "gover- 
nor" created no little alarm for he was accused of giving aid and 
comfort to the enemy, the tories, and it required a serious investi- 
gation to dispel the fears. "Old Boston," who held the high office 
several times and was in every way a good citizen, was buried in 
the First Church cemetery. 

The election and training days of the whites were already be- 
ginning to indicate what they would be in the next century. 
After the last French-Indian war, when tension grew less, flow 
of good fellowship was unrestrained and there were forerunners 


of tavern balls of later days. At the same time there was organi- 
zation for charitable work and higher appreciation of citizenship. 
In 1762 the time was ripe for the first Masonic charter. It 
was issued for St. John's Lodge, No. 4, and John Townley was 
the first worshipful master. The first meetings were held at the 
taverns of Hezekiah Colyn and Mrs. Sarah Flagg till a hall was 
prepared in the Black Horse tavern. Israel Putnam was a fre- 
quent visitor. The Grand Lodge was formed in 1769, a lodge in 
Farmington in 1787 (afterwards located in Plainville) and one 
in Berlin in 1791. From these have sprung all the others in the 
county. Washington Commandery, Knights Templar, was or- 
ganized in Colchester in 1796, removing to Hartford in 1844, now 
the oldest in the country. 

It is left for a summary of religious conditions in the 
eighteenth century to indicate the effect upon the people of the 
anomalies — of the great change that had come over them in the 
interrupted progress toward better things. In the study of the 
successive revolutions, social and ecclesiastical, one must keep 
ever in mind the flesh-and-blood warfares. Could the state save 
the church? Could the church drag down the sorely troubled 
state? Could either survive the changes in sentiment? Should 
they live separately? 

These pages have followed the stormy Half-Covenant days and 
the sealing of the union of church and state by the Saybrook Plat- 
form. Plans of wise men had failed to foresee three important 
factors in the immediate future, and so there must be still more 
groping and experiment, more agony of soul. The three factors 
were : Change in character of population ; loosening effect of the 
Half- Way covenant and the immoral effects of the wars. As 
early as 1714 the parental General Assembly was compelled to 
recognize the increase in irreligion and immorality. The com- 
mittee of the General Association of the church reported lack of 
Bibles, contempt for church, family degeneration, educational in- 
difference and intemperance. Among a naturally devout people 
were mingling freebooters and camp-followers ; the people them- 
selves were becoming piratical in disposition under the series of 
wars, and, to go deeper, many of the strong were yielding under 


the depression caused by the currency and financial distresses 
concomitant with war. 

The Assembly had but one recourse by the system that it had 
built up. It must itself adopt warfare against organizations, in- 
dividuals, against clergymen themselves when they ignored regu- 
lations, preached outside of their jurisdictions or allowed others 
to preach within them, no authority having been granted. Tax 
collectors and constables joined in the fray. By sad yet sequen- 
tial fatuity, a law was passed in 1717 welding church and town, 
the minister to be elected by town vote. 

It was an era of madness when only a great awakening could 
be hoped for as the beginning of a basic reformation, which came 
but was not to be complete for a hundred years. Legislative 
enactment did not produce it. Jonathan Edwards, in world his- 
tory forever as one of America's greatest theologians, modest and 
mild of manner out of the pulpit, burst forth at this juncture 
with what to the unsophisticated of later days was the most 
nerve-rasping sensationalism since the horrors of the Inquisi- 
tion. It is not realized by such as they that he broke down the 
slovenly Half-Covenant, that as a metaphysical writer he moved 
Europe as well as America and that such a book as "The Free- 
dom of the Will" is among the world's greatest. He went to the 
church at Northampton, Mass., in 1727, from Yale, where he had 
graduated and had remained as a tutor, and continued at the 
church till dismissed after denouncing church members who read 
widely circulated immoral books from overseas. Chosen presi- 
dent of Princeton College, he died of smallpox in 1858, before he 
had entered upon his new duties. His son, of the same name, fol- 
lowed him closely in character and career even to college presi- 
dency and early death. 

He himself was the son of the hard-hitting Rev. Timothy 
Edwards of South Windsor where he was born in 1703. His first 
hell-fire sermon in 1734 had its effect throughout New England. 
His own church experienced a revival despite animosities 
aroused, and thence he went forth to preach by request in other 
churches. The result became known as the "Great Awakening." 

But the converted, though strengthened by George White- 
field, fell away. The spirit of the old days and the politics thereof 
had changed for the spirit of the new as represented by men like 
Franklin. Bitter quarrels were uncontrollable. Separatists or 

(Engraved i>y R. Babson and T. Andrews) 




the new Congregationalists and New Lights and Old Lights 
fought each other; application of law was severe but ineffective. 
Town was divided against town, family against family; homes 
were sold by tax officials, husbands and wives parted and, in in- 
stances, ministers went to jail. The laws had relaxed to allow 
Episcopalians, Quakers and Baptists to have churches and not 
pay for Congregational ministers, and the new Separatist Con- 
gregational churches found themselves outside these provisions. 
Nor was there relief for them when men like Roger Wolcott, Jon- 
athan Trumbull and Thomas Fitch in 1750 revised out the old 
persecution enactments but not the Saybrook Platform. The 
King was appealed to. At that dangerous moment, however, 
President Clap of Yale initiated a movement to get back to early 
church freedom, and by 1791 all churches were allowed to incor- 
porate. By 1818 and the new Constitution, non-church members 
also were relieved from contributing to the support of the once 
Established Church. John Smalley of New Britain was one of 
the more eminent ministers who preached and trained others to 
work for the timely reforms. 

With it all, in 1797, after the worst of the wars in the field, 
there was needed — and came — a genuine revival of Christian 
grace. Hartford's old Hooker Church was furnishing a compar- 
atively mild illustration of the need. Rev. Nathan Strong with 
his brother-in-law Reuben Smith, was running a distillery not far 
from his historic church and also was dealing extensively in real 
estate and other property having to do with the adjuncts of the 
whiskey traffic. President Timothy Dwight, the elder, of Yale 
inaugurated the revival which this time worked a more lasting 
reform throughout the state. 




These wars of the eighteenth century, some of the evil by- 
products of which in the colony have now been noted, had an 
effect upon world history which cannot be overestimated since 
they had much to do with bringing on the Revolutionary war. 
There was eventual triumph in the territory of the English col- 
onies over covetous Europe, but in the '70s it might be said with 
Jeremiah, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the chil- 
dren's teeth have been set on edge." George Ill's coterie for- 
feited the prize. 

Men who above all else had wanted the time which peace al- 
lows for doing the great civic and physical tasks devolving upon 
them, who had thrown themselves, unprepared, upon the first 
annoying Indians and who had set apart days of fasting and 
prayer to ward off war, early had had to adopt military organi- 
zation, and to perfect it before the close of their first century in 
the wilderness. Matchlocks of 1642, with two pounds of match 
(or specially prepared rope carried on the gunstock) to each gun, 
had given place to flintlocks in 1673, as they in turn were to give 
way to percussion caps in 1820. A troop of horse, with Richard 
Lord of Hartford as the first captain, organized in 1658, was an 
important adjunct of the militia and was attached to the First 
Regiment in 1739. In 1668 there was a troop of dragooners com- 
manded by Benjamin Newberry of Windsor. Sergeant major 
was the highest office in the county, to which John Talcott was 
appointed in 1673. Jonathan Bull of Hartford followed him and 
the position was held by John Chester of Wethersfield in 1702 
and by Roger Wolcott of Windsor in 1724. In 1737 Wolcott was 



in command of the county regiment of forty-seven companies, 
3,480 men, and two troops, 106 men. Names of Daniel Webster, 
Gideon Welles and of other prominent families in history appear 
on the rolls. 

Formal regimental organization dates from the law of 1739, 
when there were thirteen regiments, each with a colonel. Wol- 
cott's previous titles had been major and colonel. John Whiting 
was colonel in 1741, followed by Joseph Pitkin, George Wyllys, 
Samuel Wyllys and Roger Newberry, the two last named in the 
revolutionary period, or until the title was changed in 1785 to 
lieutenant-colonel, the first to hold which was Hezekiah Wyllys, 
then Oliver Mather and then Timothy Seymour till 1800. Part 
of the Sixth, Tenth and Twelfth Regiments came within the 
county when it included Middletown, Hebron, East Haddam, 
Barkhamsted, Bolton, Tolland, Winchester, Colebrook and New 
Hartford. Colonels of the Sixth till 1800 were Thomas Welles 
of Glastonbury, John Chester, Jabez Hamlin, Elizur Talcott, 
Samuel H. Parsons, Tomas Belden, Howell Woodbridge, Roger 
Welles, Ezekiel P. Belden and Elisha Hale. A troop of horse 
was added to each regiment in 1741. The thirteen regiments in 
1662 averaged 1,558 men each, including the troop. 

The clash of English and Dutch interests in the previous cen- 
tury was a matter of little moment compared with the long 
drawn-out struggle with France after Dutch King William came 
to the English throne. He perceived that while the English were 
superior in number and had built their homes to occupy the land, 
the clever French were establishing strategic military posts along 
the outskirts even from the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the 
Mississippi. The busy home-makers themselves had given no 
heed; wide stretches of wilderness, inhabited by savage tribes, 
intervened. But William had seen in King Louis' flaunt a chal- 
lenge to Protestantism which must be met by making England 
and eastern America a unit for defense and aggression. None 
of his successors exhibited equal judgment. 

William died five years after his war and was succeeded by 
Queen Anne at the time when England, Holland and Austria at- 
tacked Louis XIV of France for putting his grandson on the 
throne of Spain, for declaring for James' son for King of Eng- 
land and for generally disregarding the treaty of Ryswick. The 
colonies vainly had besought England to give heed to their terri- 


tory, Nicholson of Virginia, Penn of Pennsylvania and Bellomont 
of New York being especially urgent. In the eighteenth century 
the fatuity of English rule was in the ascendancy. 

The increase of unseemly carriage in the colonies was not a 
source of the Revolution; it was a reflex of both the alarm and 
discontent as time had gone on. Intemperance was rampant, 
petty crimes were common, contempt for law and traditions not 
infrequent. In Hartford County Capt. William Whiting ruled 
with a strong hand as sheriff but the jail which had been built in 
1698 on the north side of the square was overpopulated. The son 
of Rev. John Whiting, he established the long-prominent militant 
branch of the family, and war duty came to demand more time 
than civic duty. For this war of the Spanish succession, or 
"Queen Anne's war," which was to run on for eleven years before 
the crowns of France and Spain were separated, he was of the 
county Committee of War, the others being such leaders as Na- 
thaniel Stanley and Captains Aaron Cook and Cyprian Nichols 
of Hartford, William Pitkin of East Hartford, Maj. John Ches- 
ter of Wethersfield, and Capt. Matthew Allyn of Windsor. The 
fiascos of the previous war and the loss by the treaty of what 
little had been gained, like Port Royal and Acadia, rankled 
deeply, but training was redoubled as news came of the French- 
Indian outrages in the South and the North, of the midnight hor- 
rors at Deerfield, Mass., and of French supremacy on the sea. 
Alarm succeeded alarm. Fortified houses were designated as 
during King William's war and all precautionary measures 
taken. In 1707 a council of war in Hartford ordered firmer or- 
ganization and dogs were procured to help hunt the Indians who 
were even now burning Haverhill in Massachusetts. 

Requests for aid from England were of no avail. The one 
cheering prospect was when an expedition thence was equipped, 
but only to be sent for service elsewhere. Port Royal and Acadia 
must be scotched, since they were the supply station for the In- 
dians and the rendezvous for privateers. Col. Benjamin Church 
was authorized to undertake the task but was forbidden to at- 
tack Port Royal, which stronghold refused to surrender without 
attack, despite the presence of a New England fleet. Nicholson 
of Virginia gained reward in 1710 after five years of personal 
effort in London itself, in the shape of a fleet to retake Port Royal 
with the aid of the New England militia. He captured the fort 


and gave the name of Nova Scotia. Of the 1,050 colonials, Con- 
necticut furnished 300. Officers from Hartford County included 
Colonel Whiting, Lieutenant-Colonel Allyn, Lieutenants Jona- 
than Belden of Wethersfield, John Clark of Suffield, Samuel 
White of Hartford and Rev. Thomas Buckingham, chaplain. And 
again, in the treaty this prize was to be given up. 

In 1711, by earnest desire of the colonies, Nicholson secured 
from England Admiral Walker's fleet and seven of Marlbor- 
ough's regiments which were to sail up the St. Lawrence to Que- 
bec while Nicholson led the colonial levies through the wilderness 
by way of Lake Champlain. Connecticut furnished two of the 
transports to cooperate with the fleet. Part of the fleet was lost 
in the fog and through bad handling, and it put back with a heavy 
loss in ships and men. Nicholson had assembled 2,300 men at 
Wood Creek, including the Connecticut men under Whiting and 
other officers who had assembled before, the name of Capt. John 
Mason of Norwich among them. There was nothing for them 
but to make their way over the rough trail back home again. 

When in 1723 Massachusetts was threatened with another 
Indian invasion, prompted by the Canadians, she called upon 
Connecticut, but the colony had had to draw in its own borders 
from the west and Major Talcott was patrolling from Simsbury 
to present New Milford. The Council of War, however, was able 
to dispatch one company to protect Deerfield and Northfield. An- 
other company was sent to Litchfield and a bounty of £50 was 
offered for Indian scalps. Capt. Cyprian Nichols marched with 
a company to Hampden County. 

After a short peace, England set out to clear the Indies and 
the Florida coast of Spaniards. While fortifying New London, 
Connecticut promptly responded to the call for 1,000 men to join 
Wentworth and Admiral Vernon's ships at Jamaica, after stipu- 
lating that the units should elect their own officers. The troops 
were treated as hirelings and rumors of jobbery and defection 
disheartened the would-be loyal men. Tropical disease already 
had swept the worried ranks when they were sent to slaughter 
under the walls of Cartagena. Turning northward, the English 
found Havana an easy prey but the yellow fever an unconquer- 
able foe. Of the 1,000 who went out less than 100 returned. 
Among the officers who died was Capt. Roger Newberry, one of 
Windsor's most promising men. 


It was not till 1744, when France ceased to act secretly as an 
ally of Spain, that real peril threatened New England. From 
Cape Breton, where towered Louisburg, "America's Gibraltar," 
devastation was being dealt along the New England coast, yet 
the appeal of Governor Shirley of Massachusetts met with no 
response from the North. It was the business men of Hartford 
County who aroused Connecticut to offer 500 men and then to 
increase the number to 1,100, with bounty of £10 and each man 
to furnish his own equipment. The troops sailed from New Lon- 
don in the ship Defense, itself a further contribution. Sir Wil- 
liam Pepperell was in command of the combined forces and 
Lieut.-Gov. Roger Wolcott his chief lieutenant. Most of the 
Hartford County volunteers were well-to-do citizens who re- 
sponded with such alacrity that commissary was neglected and 
material for rations had to be collected from cellar to cellar. One 
of the company commanders was William Whiting; Rev. Elisha 
Williams of Wethersfield was chaplain. The colonial fleet sailed 
from Boston in March, 1745, undeterred by the non-appearance 
of England's promised support. Commodore Warren, however, 
was on his way from West Indies and joined in the attack on 
Louisburg. By June 17 the citadel had succumbed and was left 
in charge of the victorious colonists. The appeal to England for 
reimbursement was disallowed. Neighboring colonies contrib- 
uted to the fund raised in New England. One American officer 
received recognition by the royal government, in the person of 
Capt. David Wooster who chanced to be in England at the time 
and was made lieutenant in the army on half-pay for life; his 
life was given in the Revolution when he was aiding in the re- 
pulse of Tryon's raid on Danbury. 

France thirsted for revenge and England planned the con- 
quest of Canada. Connecticut sent 1,000 (in addition to a de- 
tachment for Hampshire County) as her portion of New Eng- 
land's 5,300 in the expedition. The French fleet having met with 
disaster by storms and disease, England failed to appreciate its 
opportunity and the expedition was recalled. The treaty was 
signed in 1748. The expense had been £80,000 which would have 
been given cheerfully could the victories of the colonists have 
been sealed. But, as at the previous peace, the prizes won for the 
mother country — the nests from which the French roamed out to 
annoy the colonists — were given back to the enemy. Life and 


treasure were deemed to have been wasted by a government 
which became less and less understandable. 

During the peace, Connecticut in common with the other col- 
onies made rapid progress. In 1755 Connecticut had a popula- 
tion of 160,000 and industries were being developed. But the 
time when history could be written in something besides blood 
had not yet arrived, nor was it to arrive till the country had 
freed itself of European meshes. The student who would dis- 
cover new reasons for the war for independence must blind him- 
self to the record of a hundred years and particularly to the 
crystalization of sentiment in the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. No amount of expatiation upon religious views, universal 
frontier peculiarities or the ambition of individuals or groups 
can weigh against the officially established experiences of the col- 
onies, whether as to charter uncertainties, subjection to royal 
whims, sacrifice through incompetency of satraps or marshals, 
or being the tail of kites whipped about by every European 
breeze, in England alone or in any other monarchy. 

Fresh strife was made certain by the French policy of en- 
croachment after the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. King William's 
theory was proving tremendously correct. Frontier posts were 
of little value at this late day. Delegates from New England, 
New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland attended the historic Al- 
bany convention in 1754. The Connecticut delegates, William 
Pitkin, Roger Wolcott, Jr., and Elisha Williams — already famil- 
iar county names — were instructed, especially against undue 
control of the troops. The plan Franklin submitted was doubt- 
less as liberal as conditions would allow, but in the pooling of the 
military under royal direction — that is, through a colonial coun- 
cil whose president-general should be a royal appointee — Connec- 
ticut, though the Hartford County men who represented her 
stood alone, saw insuperable objections. But her breath against 
acceptance of the plan was wasted, for England on her side 
feared too much freedom and her counter proposition for actual 
royal control through governors pleased none ; experience was too 

War had not been declared, but French aggression must be 
stopped. Brave Braddock early in 1755 demonstrated with his 

14— VOL. 1 


life the unadaptability of European training for American war- 
fare. For the plans being made, Connecticut stepped out with 
1,000 men and 500 reserves to march with the army against 
Crown Point, the Lake Champlain stronghold, and voted £7,500 
in bills at 5 per cent for three years and a tax of 2 pence on the 
pound. Commissioned major-general, Phineas Lyman of Suf- 
field, then a member of the upper house of the Assembly, was 
given command of the colony's troops in the army of Gen. Wil- 
liam Johnson for the expedition. He also was commander of the 
First Regiment, John Pitkin of East Hartford lieutenant- 
colonel, while Elizur Goodrich of Wethersfield was colonel of the 
Second with Nathan Whiting of Hartford as second in com- 
mand. Israel Putnam was a captain under Lyman, who soon 
was to win distinction. Colonel Whiting and Colonel Williams 
of Massachusetts had been ambushed near Fort Edwards in an 
advance-guard movement toward the French general Dieskau, 
who was marching to the relief of the fort. Williams having 
been killed, Whiting alone rallied the two regiments and brought 
them back to Lake George where Johnson's column was waiting. 
In the ensuing battle Johnson was wounded and the command 
of the army devolved upon Lyman. Though taken at a disad- 
vantage, he fought for five hours or until Dieskau had been 
taken prisoner and his force almost wiped out. So great was the 
rejoicing in Connecticut that two regiments of 750 men each 
were sent as reinforcements, under command of Col. Samuel 
Talcott and Col. Eli Chauncey. Their task proved to be merely 
helping erect Fort William Henry on the site of the battle, for 
Johnson rested instead of pushing his advantage. England 
knighted Johnson and allowed £50,000 for expenses; Lyman who 
had fought the fight was ignored. He was deeply embittered but 
hardly more so than his fellow colonists. Once more the men 
toiled home to spend another winter nursing unpleasant mem- 
ory of a great opportunity lost. 

The expedition against Niagara also was a failure but that 
to Nova Scotia was successful, though it involved the removal of 
15,000 Acadians to remote places, some of them to Hartford and 

The year 1756 brought Frederick the Great's seven-years' 
war. The earl of Loudon was sent to be governor of Virginia 


and commander-in-chief in America, while Abercrombie was to 
succeed Shirley of Massachusetts. For him was assembled at 
Albany the largest army the colonies had known, 10,000 men, in 
which body Connecticut had double her quota with 2,500. The 
summer was spent in bickerings, and late fall saw the colonials 
dragging back to their homes disgusted over failure to act. In 
the spring came another loud call for 6,000 to unite with 6,000 
regulars sailing from England. The treasury exhausted, the 
Assembly authorized a grand lottery in Hartford, for £1,000, 
conducted by Col. Samuel Talcott, Col. Samuel Welles of Glas- 
tonbury, and Richard Edwards. Connecticut furnished 1,400 
who expected to resume the Crown Point campaign but instead 
were ordered to recapture Louisburg, the mighty citadel which 
had been restored to France after New England had taken it. 
The British, late in arriving, decided that the strengthened 
works were too strong to attack and sailed back. 

While the Assembly was still drawing on its depleted treas- 
ury, increasing taxes and devising means to raise more money, 
while the husbandmen were again leaving their long deserted 
fields and for the most part furnishing their own equipment, the 
most depressing tragedy of all was preparing, and that, too, at 
the spot where hope twice had been turned to bitterness. When 
the forces summoned to Lake George had been depleted for the 
Louisburg folly, Montgomery had seen his opportunity to cut 
through on the line to New York. Webb, whose timidity had 
been largely responsible for the previous year's failure, was in 
command of the 7,000 men left to guard this vital point. Disre- 
garding the advice of Maj. Israel Putnam, Webb got himself into 
a tangle which, despite the frantic efforts of both Putnam and 
General Johnson, caused him to abandon Colonel Monroe and his 
men, women and children at Fort William Henry where the 
French themselves were hardly able to stay the massacre by 
their Indians — a tale which needed no garnishing to make it the 
most harrowing chapter of Cooper's great novel in later years. 
In Hartford, as throughout the colonies, the shock was para- 
lyzing for the moment but was followed by a keener sense that 
the French must be withstood. Five thousand men from Con- 
necticut in a few days were climbing the same old steep hills on 
their way to Albany, dragging and pushing their supply wagons 
with them as usual. This increased the colony's total to 6,400 


in Webb's now well-conditioned army which also included 20,000 
regulars, in addition to the large reinforcements from the other 
nearby colonies. Every man was determined to see the French 
driven back for once and all. Their commander did nothing; 
the French devastated the surrounding country, and in the fall 
it was the same story of the weary homeward march — to fami- 
lies that were almost destitute through neglect and to an Assem- 
bly distracted. 

Yet the wise men of the Assembly knew that the English 
people as such were sympathizing with them deeply. There 
were reverses everywhere and there was a stirring against the 
government that was reminiscent of the days of George I. That 
winter the voice of a commoner was heard. William Pitt, in 
taking over the premiership, said England must be brought out 
of her enervate state. His letter read in the Assembly March 8, 
1758, cheered the fainting colony. The vote was to furnish one- 
quarter of the 20,000 quota for New England and the where- 
withal to raise it, by bounties and otherwise. The battle this 
time in the Lake George section was by an army exceeding its 
predecessors in numbers and training, led by Howe till he fell. 
Putnam had ably supported him. Abercrombie, of recent pain- 
ful memory, succeeded him, lost both nerve and wits, rejected 
the brave proffers of Putnam and his colonials, kept his artillery 
in the rear, drove a bayonet charge against entrenchments, was 
horrified by the sacrifice, and retreated. To add to the bitter- 
ness of a defeat which facts revealed could have been a splendid 
victory came the news of the achievement of the gallant Amherst 
and Wolfe at Louisburg, of Bradstreet of Massachusetts at 
Frontenac and of Forbes, with Washington, at DuQuesne. Three 
Connecticut regiments in the defeat were commanded by Lyman, 
Fitch and Wooster, and other regiments in the army were com- 
manded by Nathanial Whiting, Eliphalet Dyer and John Reed. 
It was soon after this that Putnam, conducting a reconnoisance 
toward Ticonderoga, was betrayed by a British officer who would 
indulge in pastime shooting, was caught in ambush and was car- 
ried into long and painful captivity. 

The net results of 1758 encouraged England to make one 
grand stroke the following year, and Pitt found the colonies, 
though exhausted, responsive. Once more Connecticut voted 
one quarter of the 20,000 called for in New England, raised the 


bounty to £7 and issued new bills of credit. Lyman and Whiting 
again led regiments, and Putnam was back for second place in 
Fitch's regiment. Assembled at Albany in May, Amherst in- 
spired and led them swiftly in pursuit of Montcalm; Johnson 
was regaining favor by his victory at Niagara, and Wolfe, with 
his last breath, was taking Quebec. Most cheerfully, therefore, 
under Amherst did the old army in 1760 start for Montreal and 
the Connecticut men had their old commanders. Montreal sur- 
rendered in the fall; French power in America was ended. In 
the work of consolidating the territory the next year, Hartford 
County men were among the 2,500 from the colony who served 
under Lyman and Whiting, and in the fall among the 1,000 who 
went out with Lyman and Putnam for a West Indian expedition 
against Spain, from which only a handful returned. 

Formal peace was declared in 1763. Slow and painful was 
the recuperation of the colonies from the mishandling by the gov- 
ernment and long were the years to be before the real heart of 
the English people was to be permitted to reveal itself, as in the 
editorial of the London Times on Washington's retirement to 
private life: "In resigning his station, he has concluded a life 
of honor and glory. His address in resigning his office is a very 
masterful performance and we shall give it at length." 

Parliament's act of 1765 requiring a stamp on every formal 
paper in itself was no serious matter, after it had been cut down 
on the admonition of Governor Fitch and of Jared Ingersoll of 
New Haven; but the Assembly said it infringed upon the col- 
ony's right to have no taxes but its own, and when Ingersoll, on 
his way to Hartford as stamp master, reached Wethersfield, 500 
mounted Sons of Liberty joined him, and at the State House, in 
the presence of the Assembly and a throng of citizens, made him 
read his resignation. Parliament must have heard the noisy cel- 
ebration over the repeal of that law but it ignored the evidence 
that the democratic spirit was spreading throughout all the col- 
onies and decreed a levy on importations. The closing of the re- 
belious port of Boston was like fire to flax. Indignation meet- 
ings by towns were followed by a convention which passed reso- 
lutions of protest and gave encouragement to home industries. 
Towns vied with each other in expressing their sentiments and 
in sending aid to the Boston people. In Farmington a copy of 



the act was burned by the hangman. A non-consumption agree- 
ment was adopted at a convention held in Hartford September 
15, 1774, and anyone guilty of serving or drinking tea after that 
was held to be a public offender whose name was published in 
the Courant with warning to confess. 


King Albert, the second from the left; Major Louis H. Stanley, commanding' First 

Company, on right of reviewing line; Captain D. Frank Conkey at head of company; 

color bearers (each six and a half feet tall), Sergeants Valentine E. Gilson and Kenneth 

A. Woodford. Second Company (New Haven), Major Edwin A. Judge, following. 




The Lexington alarm reaching here the night of April 20, 
1775, was met with an immediate session of the Assembly, while 
men and boys were seizing their guns and starting. Hartford 
sent four companies, led by Jonathan Welles, Timothy Cheney, 
Abraham Sedgwick and George Pitkin; East Windsor the same 
number, under Charles Ellsworth, Matthew Grant, Lemuel 
Stoughton and Amasa Loomis; Windsor, one company, Capt. 
Nathaniel Hayden; Wethersfield, one, Capt. John Chester; Sims- 
bury, two, Amos Wilcox and Zachariah Gillet the captains; Bol- 
ton, two, led by Ezekiel Olcott and Thomas Pitkin; Enfield, one, 
Capt. Nathaniel Terry; Glastonbury, one, Capt. Elizur Hubbard, 
and Sufneld, one, Capt. Elisha Kent. 

The Assembly reviewed past grievances suffered despite evi- 
dences of loyalty and self-sacrifice, called for troops on May 1 and 
on May 6 summoned one-quarter of all the militia — 6,000 men in 
six regiments, a major-general and two brigadiers each of whom 
also was to command a regiment as colonel ; and at a July session 
called for two more regiments, making a total of 7,400, all 
officers appointed by the Assembly. The Assembly authorized 
the payment of commissary bills and soon after appropriated 
£50,000 for that purpose and a like amount twice again within a 
short time. By the rolls of 1774 there had been 23,000 men be- 
tween 16 and 60, drilling in twenty-two regiments, with two more 
added when the county of Westmoreland, which had been the 
Litchfield part of the Pennsylvania region, was established. 
There were only patches of irregular uniform here and there ; the 
one requirement was that men should be able to shoot straight 



and sleep wherever they might halt, in fields or woods, and with 
only odds and ends from their own homes to cover them. Con- 
necticut's government alone of the colonies remained unchanged, 
barring a touch of the pen on the royal charter provisions. It 
is to be remembered also that the essence of the Constitution and 
charter was DUTY along with independence. 

To get this picture clearly, however, developments of adverse 
character during the prolonged French-Indian wars must not be 
forgotten. Numerical strength of the soldiery and quality of 
preparedness, indicated by orders for drilling, might elsewise be 
as misleading as would be the reading of the religious exhorta- 
tions and zealous conduct of the faithful in the churches. Even 
the solemn exercises of the inauguration of the governor had de- 
generated into something scandalous. When some of the clergy 
who assembled for the great sermon of the year and took part in 
the processions were none too able to walk after their libations, 
there is little wonder that the military escort of his excellency 
had become a rabble. These manifestations had so offended those 
who were really making colonial history that the Assembly had 
to appoint a committee to "take notice and resent the disrespect 
and indignity shown them by the military company ordered to 
serve." Prosecutions followed the committee's investigation and 
for two years an East Hartford company had to be the escort. 
Young men of Hartford who would redeem the town's fair name 
organized among themselves a company which should be worthy. 

It was on October 2, 1771, that Samuel Wyllys, recently from 
Yale and soon to win high honor in war, with forty-three others 
petitioned the Assembly, saying that the individual expense of 
keeping up companies for escort duty and having their turns come 
but once in many years, made it seem wise to have one company 
formed to do the duty regularly. The Assembly was grateful. 
The uniform adopted was that of the British grenadiers, main- 
tained as the dress uniform of these the Governor's Foot Guard 
to the present time — to be laid away, however, during war so 
soon to come and never, in Connecticut, to be worn under the 
British flag until a memorable day in Hartford during the World 
war when that flag had place with the American flag on the Capi- 
tol. The Assembly was so pleased with the company thus out- 
fitted in 1772 that it directed that muskets be procured direct 
from England for the men. On the formation of a like company 


in New Haven in 1775, the Hartford company became the First 
and the New Haven the Second Company. Wyllys was still cap- 
tain of the company in 1775 and its members were active in im- 
proving the morale they had done so much to save. 

Another power for good was the Connecticut Courant, which, 
as elsewhere told, was established in 1764 and was now giving its 
meagre bits of news of the rapid progress of affairs, for one thing- 
answering the question as to which fired first at Lexington — the 
British or the hastily assembled farmers; and for another, pub- 
lishing the public sentiment concerning those with tory sympa- 
thies. It appeared that critical year of '75 with varying size of 
paper and sometimes omitting advertisements. For two months 
it was printed on wrapping paper. On October 11 it rejoiced 
over the prospect of a paper mill (which was to become a source 
of supply for over a hundred years) , yet soliloquized thus : "But 
we live in a crooked world and through the monopolizing spirit of 
the times things are often puffed out of their proper channel, by 
which means it is reduced to its present awful and distressed 
condition." Later the editor urged the Daughters of Liberty to 
save rags for him, lest there be no paper whatever. Daughters 
and mothers were making rags go a long way at home, and in De- 
cember the Courant had to announce suspension till it could get 
paper from some source. Its next issue was on January 22, 1776 
— the only hiatus in its unparalleled history. 

The capture of Ticonderoga May 10, 1775, was one of the 
most effective incidents of the war period. It was the colonial 
way of capturing supplies as compared with the British way at 
Concord. Moreover it closed that historic gateway from the 
north which so carelessly had been left unguarded since the days 
when the blood of the colonials had been spilled there in vain and 
for which Burgoyne was to contend most fiercely at a later date. 
The few cannon and the powder that Ethan Allen found there, 
transported to Cambridge, were of material aid to the colonies. 
Benedict Arnold's quick eye had perceived the opening and he 
had spoken of it to General Parsons, but it was Silas Deane of 
Wethersfield who deserved the credit of arranging and putting 
through the project. Theoretically without the Assembly's knowl- 
edge, Deane and ten others procured £800 from the colonial treas- 
ury, pledging therefor their private fortunes. The ten were Sam- 
uel Wyllys, Samuel H. Parsons, Samuel Bishop, Jr., Joshua Por- 


ter, Jesse Root, Ezekiel Williams, William Williams, Thomas 
Mumford, Adam Babcock and Charles Webb. Hartford men on 
the committee of sixteen from Connecticut were Epaphras Bull, 
William Nichols, Elijah Babcock, Capt. John Bigelow, Bernard 
Romans and Ashbell Wells of Hartford and Capt. Elisha Phelps 
and Noah Phelps of Simsbury. Ethan Allen, of Southbury birth 
and Salisbury raising, the Green Mountain leader who had 
worsted the New York speculators in their attempt to get con- 
trol of Vermont lands, commanded the expedition after the force 
had been made to number eighty-three by the addition of men 
from Pittsfield led by Col. John Easton, a native of Hartford, 
and men from Vermont. Benedict Arnold received the first of 
that series of snubs which were to make him a traitor when he 
sought command because he bore a commission as colonel in 
Washington's forces and the men voted for Allen as the two men 
stood before them. 

After Arnold and Seth Warner had pushed the Ticonderoga 
victory, the prisoners were sent to Hartford in the care of Epaph- 
ras Bull. They included Governor Philip Skene of Skenesbor- 
ough, who later was to figure among the British officers at Ben- 
nington, and his son, Major Skene. They were permitted to at- 
tend an Episcopal church in Middletown till friction arose be- 
tween them and the neighbors of Mrs. Sarah Whitman Hooker, 
in whose house they lived (on present New Britain Avenue in 
West Hartford), a house which recently has been bought by Mrs. 
Ralph E. Gerth and in 1928 was dedicated to the use of patriotic 
organizations. The General Assembly took up the subject and 
limitations were put upon the Skenes during the rest of their 
stay and before parole. War had not yet been declared. 

Deane's ability was recognized by the colonial government 
when it began to take shape and he was sent to France on a semi- 
secret mission to secure munitions. Beaumarchais was ready to 
assist and devised ways to make the shipments which counted 
for so much, as, for an example, when they enabled Gates to turn 
the tide against Burgoyne. Eight vessels then had evaded the 
British and had landed their cargoes at Portsmouth, N. H. Deane 
also did so well in advancing the cause of the sailors that he was 
known among them as the "father of the American navy." In 
diplomacy his skill was of value in bringing about the alliance of 
France. To Franklin and Lee he was indispensable. And yet 



New residence of Congressman E. Hart Fenn. Washington was enter- 
tained here on his way to take command of the army. Webb House 

to the right. 


his last days were to be embittered by slanders at the national 
capital, based upon misinterpretation of his necessarily secret 
work, and, his fortune expended for his country, he died alone 
and in poverty in England, his reputation not to be cleared till 
near the middle of the next century. 

One of the scandals framed against Deane, one which per- 
haps more than any of the others was made to impress Congress, 
had to do with Hartford citizens and business, with no less a per- 
sonage than Gen. Nathanial Greene, a favorite and adviser of 
Washington, and with Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth of Hartford, 
who as commissary-general for the allied armies, did much to 
win for Connecticut the title of the "Provision State." When 
Deane went to Congress in 1779, leaving his fine residence in 
Wethersfield now the home of Congressman E. Hart Fenn, he 
turned over his large affairs there and in Hartford to his brother 
Barnabas whose home in Hartford was on Grove Street. He was 
closely associated with Colonel Wadsworth in the produce and 
shipping business. Early in 1779 the firm of Barnabas Deane 
and Company was formed for general trading. At that time the 
government was being imposed upon by profiteers. General 
Greene was Washington's quartermaster-general, and what be- 
tween the scheming at Philadelphia and the difficulty in getting 
supplies at any cost, his duties were onerous. Having seriously 
impaired his fortunes, he welcomed a plan to join with Commis- 
sary-General of Purchase Wadsworth to get supplies without 
having it known that the government was the purchaser. Both 
he and Wadsworth entered this firm as silent partners. The 
company owned grist mills, was interested in distilleries and tried 
to establish salt works to eke out the supply that could be brought 
through from the Indies. Not a word must be said to Silas 
Deane or anyone else, for if the secret became known great dam- 
age would be done to the cause, and profiteers would make the 
most of it. The army and the cause suffered all they could en- 
dure as it was, and more of it might have meant defeat. 

Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull of Hartford a hundred years later 
obtained the key to all this correspondence, stories about which 
so disturbed the country in later days, and revealed not only the 
high honor of the men but "the difficulties and prejudices insur- 
mountable which beset them in their superhuman effort to keep 


the army from disintegrating through want of the bare necessi- 
ties of life." 

The county's highways were hardly clear of the men who had 
hastened to Lexington when they were filled again with others 
who had made the weary marches from the colonies further 
south. Many were returning after a few days to reorganize 
under enlistments for two months and to march back to become 
a part of the army then in command of General Ward of Massa- 
chusetts, 3,000 of whose eager troops were from this colony. 
Among those who went with Putnam the night of June 16 to 
throw up the trenches on Breed's Hill were John Chester of 
Wethersfield and his men and they were a part of the brave con- 
tingent who the next day checked the British after their hard- 
won victory and covered the retreat of the Americans from 
Bunker Hill. The repulse after repulse the magnificently trained 
and magnificently uniformed army of Gage had suffered was, in 
the frank statement of the veteran Burgoyne, the worst spectacle 
he ever had witnessed. 

One item will give an idea of the work of recruiting through 
the summer, reorganizing and beating the raw material into 
shape, with almost no resources for equipment. It is the receipt 
of a Simsbury captain and reads : 

Aug. 1, 1775. — Three guns and 2 bayonets prized at 55s. 
each gun and bayonet of the selectmen of the town of Sims- 
bury to supply my solgers now going in the service of this 
government. The gun without the bayonet, is prized at 50s. 
Rec'd by me Elihu Humphrey, capt. 4th Company, 8th 
Regt. Marked on ye barrel — DW — two of the guns — 1 gun 
marked S B on thumbpiece. 

A member of that company was Daniel Barber, later a clergy- 
man, who minutely described the recruiting and departure of the 
company in his "History of My Own Times" (1827). Nowhere 
is there a better account of what was being done at that critical 
hour in America's history in every little hill town, or a better 
sidelight on the men who were doing it. Of the captain he says 
he was a well-bred gentleman, of friendly turn of mind and sweet 
disposition, who became major and died in 1776. Lieut. Andrew 
Hillyer (whose descendants, it may be remarked, have been 
prominent in Hartford history through all the years since) was 
a handsome, sprightly young gentleman, with a college educa- 


tion — unassuming, gentle, persuasive, and later a colonel in the 
militia. Lieut. E. Fitch Bissell of Windsor was a gentleman, 
though not of the most easy and familiar turn, efficient and well 
respected. Sergt. Aaron Pinney had "a fierce and fiery coun- 
tenance and commanding air, well becoming a soldier of '75." 
From Sergt. Jacob Tuller, no one expected much flattery; his 
brow was generally knit together. Sergt. Daniel Higley, vet- 
eran of the earlier wars, entertained them with camp songs. 
Sergt. Thomas Hayden was a military man, "but I should guess 
no soldier ever admired him for his pleasant airs." Jonathan 
Humphrey, clerk of the roll, was a most charming companion. 

As soon as seventy-five had been enrolled, the company met 
at the captain's house, ready to march. Rev. Mr. Pitkin of Farm- 
ington, by request, that day preached the farewell sermon, the 
company appearing in the church "as men prepared for battle." 
In going to and from the service, the soldiers were accompanied 
by a mixed multitude of relatives, friends and strangers. In the 
midst of this scene of sorrow, the drums beat to arms, and with 
one lingering look, the long march is begun in silence. The most 
of the men had not been twenty miles from home before. The 
company marched eight miles that afternoon and put up at 
Marsh's inn. For the first time in his life the writer spent the 
night on the floor with a cartridge box for a pillow. Due to 
scarcity of horses, an ox team carried the provisions and a barrel 
of rum. The rations were salt pork and dried peas. "While 
passing through Connecticut, the females were very polite, in 
lending us knives and forks; but after entering Massachusetts, 
we were not allowed the like favor without pledging money or 
some kind of security — the people saying they had lost many of 
their spoons by the soldiers who had gone before us. Our bread 
was hard biscuit, in which there was a small quantity of lime, 
just enough to make the mouth sore." 

The marching and martial music on Sundays and while pass- 
ing churches caused reflection on whether the Lord would be as 
well pleased as if the men had stayed home to read their Bibles; 
but military discipline soon effected a degree of relaxation and 
in time many came to consider all days alike. Soldiers are not 
inclined to the same degree of civility as others. During the 
march it was not uncommon if a soldier were not well treated by 
the inn-keeper to show resentment by firing a ball through his 


sign. In Connecticut (again) the men were treated with great 
respect, but as they came nearer Boston they were treated as 
though they were "a banditti of rogues and thieves," and the sol- 
diers expressed themselves resentfully. It required about ten 
days to reach camp at Roxbury. Six men were there quartered in 
each 6x7 tent. "Our household utensils were an iron pot, a can- 
teen or wooden bottle holding two quarts, a pail and a wooden 

Lieut.-Col. Roger Enos of Windsor with his men was sent 
with Arnold on his Quebec expedition in September, 1775, but 
turned back with his half-starved followers, and when court- 
martialed was exonerated and indirectly commended for good 
judgment. Capt. Oliver Hanchett's company of Wethersfield 
was in that expedition and Benjamin Catlin of Wethersfield was 
a quartermaster. 

In the reorganization after the first brief enlistments, the 
number of Connecticut regiments was reduced from six to five. 
Samuel Wyllys became colonel of General Parsons' old command. 
In 1776 the number of "regular" state regiments was increased 
to eighteen and of militia to thirty-three. Matthew Talcott of 
Hartford County was appointed a colonel of militia. Erastus 
Wolcott of Windsor was made colonel of Waterbury's former 
regiment at New London. Colonel Enos commanded a regiment 
on the threatened western border. In James Wadsworth's 
brigade, hurried to reinforce Washington in June, 1776, Fisher 
Gay of Farmington and John Chester of Wethersfield were 
colonels of two of the eight regiments. The Assembly voted 
£110,000 in credit bills. Col. Thomas Seymour, 4th, of Hartford 
(later the city's first mayor) commanded a large body of light 
horse ; because of disagreement as to guard duty he brought them 
back but later returned and received special praise from Wash- 
ington for their services. His son, Thomas Youngs Seymour, was 
given a commission in Sheldon's Dragoons while still a student 
at Yale in the class of 1777. 

Following the custom of the earliest days, a war committee 
was appointed, or Committee of Correspondence and Observation 
as it was styled in 1774 when sympathizing with the Boston 
brethren. The Hartford County men, composing the larger part 
of the committee, were Samuel Pitkin, Aaron Bull, Samuel 
Wyllys, Timothy Cheney, Richard Pitkin, Noah Webster, Eben- 

Governor 1769-1784 


ezer Welles, Oliver Ellsworth, Hejekiah Wyllys, Jonathan Welles 
and Ashbell Wells. There also was a committee to disburse pub- 
lic money for the care of soldiers' families. 

From the beginning, Washington looked to "Brother Jona- 
than," Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, the only governor elected by the 
people, with utmost confidence. Thus when advised of the 
swarming of the British from overseas and from the South to 
attack New York, the distracted commander of the pseudo army 
of ill-assorted and ill-conditioned colonials, almost weaponless 
and held by no reasonable terms of enlistment, told Trumbull of 
the situation. It was August 12, 1776, that, in his own hand- 
writing, the governor dispatched to the officials in each town his 
historic circular letter of appeal. In a week the attacking force 
would number 30,000. "In this day of Calamity and general ex- 
pectation when our enemies are exerting every nerve to pluck 
up pull down and destroy us it is of the greatest necessity that 
everything in our power be done for the defense of our rights, 
properties, lives and posterity.^ All men exempt from military 
duty were urged to form companies, choose officers and attach 
themselves to the militia already preparing to go to New York 
— to be held only for the short time of the emergency. "Play the 
man for God and the cities of our God, may the Lord of Hosts and 
the God of the armies of Israel be your Captain and leader, your 
Conductor and saviour, give wisdom and conduct to Generals and 
officers, and inspire our Soldiery with courage, resolution and 
fortitude, that God may delight to spare us for His own name's 

This document in itself, of which only one copy is known to 
exist, breathes the spirit of the hour as felt by Washington's 
closest civil associate, pictures the conditions and more clearly 
than could pages of description indicates the position the colony 
occupied, the character of its leader and his faith in his people as 
well as in the common cause. It marks the contrast with the Hes- 
sian hirelings, who by their training and experience in European 
wars, could laugh at such an appeal to provincials. 

Commanders of the fourteen militia regiments already spe- 
cifically ordered and organizing under Maj.-Gen. Oliver Wolcott 
of Litchfield, scion of the Windsor family, included Maj. Roger 
Newberry of Windsor, Col. Elizur Talcott of Glastonbury, Lieut. - 
Col. Selah Hart of Farmington, Col. Jonathan Pettibone of Sims- 


bury, Lieut.-Col. George Pitkin of Hartford and Col. Matthew 
Talcott, then of Middletown. Preceded by the dragoons and pick- 
ing up the extra companies on the way, they immediately began 
their march to New York, where already Connecticut men were 
enduring unspeakable hardships in hastily preparing fortifica- 
tions. Under direction of a Congress, which through fear of 
"militarism" had ignored Washington's request to organize an 
army with enlistments for at least a year, the general's position, 
spread over Brooklyn, New York and upper New Jersey, was ab- 
solutely untenable, and no Lord of Hosts could save him from de- 
feat. Weakened by expiring enlistments and by disease, and 
badly equipped, part of his force already dispatched up-river at 
behest of Congress, he could count but 8,000 fairly effective men 
the night before the battle. And one-third of them were from 
Connecticut, with Putnam in command in Brooklyn as second to 

The world knows the rest — Putnam's remarkable handling of 
his men against the overwhelming force Howe was landing, and 
Washington's marvelous retreat — the most notable in history, ac- 
cording to late British authorities. The shock to the anxious 
people at home was tremendous but not unnerving, as the im- 
mediate sequel showed; many hung their heads in shame over 
the stories of Americans running away at Kip's Bay, told by un- 
experienced men who, no more than their home folks, could grasp 
the wonderful exhibition of military science. 

Parsons, Huntington, Knowlton, Nathan Hale and many 
other Connecticut leaders made imperishable names in those few 
days, and the men from Hartford County were an important part. 
Col. Selah Hart of Farmington was as much a type as those who 
fared through or gave their lives on the field. Worn out by his 
exertions in the campaign around Boston, he left a bed of sick- 
ness to rally a regiment at the call in June and was deaf to all 
suggestions through the summer that he spare himself. The force 
of his devotion was felt till he died ; he was buried on the day of 
the first battle. 

Distress at home compelled a resort to price-fixing, for both 
labor and necessities, a law which was repealed in 1777 but re- 
enacted in 1778 after a colonial convention called by Congress. 
The care with which prisoners were attended to was not dimin- 
ished with the reports from the colonials suffering on the British 


prison ships. The local committee on prisoners consisted of Col. 
Erastus Wolcott, Samuel Wadsworth, Ezekiel Williams, Epaph- 
ras Bull (commissary), Henry Allyn, Col. Fisher Gay, Col. 
Matthew Talcott, Jonathan Welles and Ebenezer White with Col. 
James Wadsworth and Col. J. Humphrey. Col. Nathaniel Terry 
of Enfield, who had succeeded Gen. Erastus Wolcott in command 
of the Nineteenth Militia on the latter's appointment to be a 
brigade commander, was also active in arranging for prisoners 
and in providing supplies for the front line. 

For the most part the prisoners were allowed freedom within 
prescribed limits, as in the case of Governor Skene which has 
been mentioned. Any infraction of regulations meant jail. A 
romantic case was that of Maj. Christopher French of a British 
regiment, taken prisoner at Gloucester, Mass. — improperly, ac- 
cording to his diary. He lived at Mrs. Knox's where there were 
other officers, some of whom engaged in private teaching. French 
devoted himself to writing long harangues to the authorities to 
prove that they were ignorant and incapable. Like the Skenes 
he was permitted to attend Rev. Mr. Jarvis' Episcopal church in 
Middletown till he tried to escape. His obnoxious bearing 
brought him in occasional conflict with the rougher element and 
he was locked up. Inasmuch as there was suspicion that the jail 
inmates had communication with the tories and as there were 
supplies of munitions in Hartford, a fence was built around the 
jail and Barzillai Hudson was appointed chief of the guard. 
French formed a habit of addressing circular letters to his fellow 
inmates, assuming an authority over them. One thing led to 
another till he was brought before a committee of which the emi- 
nent jurist Jesse Root was chairman, sitting with Samuel Wads- 
worth and Mr. Payne. He seemed to welcome this as an oppor- 
tunity to malign Judge Root and ridicule the positive evidence 
that he was in communication with those outside of jail. His 
contention was that his parole — date of which he had fixed him- 
self before his escape in November and his recapture in Bran- 
ford — had expired. He was committed to still closer confine- 
ment, yet nevertheless succeeded in getting away late in Decem- 
ber. Rev. Roger Viets of Simsbury was found to have been in 
connivance and was punished. 

Governor Franklin of New Jersey, stepson of Benjamin 
Franklin and somewhat like a white elephant in the keeping of 


the colonists, was here and in various other places at times, and 
also other distinguished individuals like Mayor Matthews of New 
York and the mayor of Albany. Members of Burgoyne's com- 
mand were brought into the county after his surrender, and near 
the close of the war, when Newgate mines in Granby had been 
made a general prison, the government was arranging to have 
many of the soldier prisoners sent there. In all there were nine- 
teen of Burgoyne's officers living in East Windsor, with forty- 
three servants, and forty-three Hessian officers with ninety-four 
servants, all on parole and under the observation of Capt. Ros- 
well Grant of Maj. John Roberts' command. Among the officers 
was Brigadier-General Hamilton with four servants, quartered 
at Edward Kilbourne's and very highly respected. 

There were but few executions, the most notable being that 
of Moses Dunbar of Bristol for high treason. Dunbar married 
Phoebe Jerome of that town, whose family were tory sympa- 
thizers. They attended Rev. James Nichols' Episcopal church 
and their four children were baptized there. On the death of 
this wife, Dunbar married Esther Adams. His neighbors held 
him under a suspicion which was confirmed soon after this mar- 
riage. He had been mobbed for talking too freely, had been sent 
to jail once and had fled to Long Island, prior to his marriage, 
to escape arrest. While at that tory refuge a second time he ac- 
cepted a commission as recruiting officer for the King's army. 
The chaplain of his regiment was Rev. Samuel Seabury, after- 
ward the first bishop in America. On his return he secured one 
recruit before he was betrayed by James Smith and turned over 
to Justices Strong and Whitman of Farmington who committed 
him to the Superior Court, then in session, January 23, 1777. 
There he was convicted under a law passed the previous October. 
There were several other trials under this statute but only Dun- 
bar was executed. Before the date of his execution March 19, 
1777, Elisha Wadsworth helped him escape, for which Wads- 
worth was imprisoned for one year. Dunbar was recaptured and 
the sentence carried out, on Gallows Hill, on the bluff west of 
where Trinity College now stands. According to the Courant, a 
"prodigious concourse" of people witnessed the execution. Rev. 
Abraham Jarvis, afterward bishop of Connecticut, preached for 
him in the jail, and Dunbar sent his children a powerful appeal 
to lead godly lives. His pregnant wife rode with him to the gal- 


lows. She went within the British lines, later returned to Bris- 
tol and married Chauncey Jerome, Jr., brother of Dunbar's first 
wife. They made their home in Nova Scotia till peace was de- 

Lafayette made occasional vists back of the lines. It is pos- 
sible that published recollections of a visit of a number of days 
to South Windsor in the spring of 1778 are correct, though it 
scarcely could have been later than May, when the alliance with 
France was being made known, when Lord North — two years 
late — was making a peace gesture by sending commissioners, 
when Howe was acknowledging his weakness by turning the 
army at Philadelphia over to Clinton, and when the despicable 
Lee was inviting if not promoting disaster for Washington's little 
band just prior to the battle of Monmouth. Earlier in the year, 
Gates had been trying to win the young Frenchman, not yet 21, 
to his cabal by planning a conquest of Canada, and Lafayette had 
been to Albany. Immediately after that scheme fell through, 
Burgoyne was pushing his complaint that the stipulations at the 
time of his surrender had not been lived up to and an indignant 
Congress had postponed the sailing of his army till it could get 
formal approval of surrender conditions from England itself. 
Lafayette may have wished to talk with some of Burgoyne's 
officers and hence have come to South Windsor. That Washing- 
ton called upon him there is hardly compatible with the special 
obligations then devolving upon Washington at Valley Forge 
and around Philadelphia. Yet the recollections are specific as 
detailed in Doctor Gillette's "Sketches." 

According to these reminiscences, Lafayette made his head- 
quarters at the home of Nathaniel Porter whose son acted as the 
general's secretary till stricken with smallpox contracted when 
carrying a letter to Washington. On the occasion of Washing- 
ton's visit, Lafayette requested Lieut. Alexander King of East 
Windsor to report to him with a mounted escort. The escort 
appeared without horse equipment and the men carrying sticks 
in place of sabres. Lafayette introduced them to Washington as 
the "Old Testament Light Horse." Justus Grant of Wapping 
sometimes was in the general's party when trips were made 
around the state. Grant told of wrestling bouts he had with the 
young marquis, but at fencing the marquis was always the vic- 
tor. The Hessian prisoners were set at planting trees along the 


highway, on suggestion of the marquis, and he and the younger 
Porter held the rope for the alignment. Horse-racing was one 
of the amusements of the prisoners, the course being from La- 
fayette's quarters to the Fitch house. The sword of Colonel Bray- 
man of Burgoyne's army came into the possession of John Gil- 
lette of East Windsor, and is now in the Connecticut Historical 
Society's rooms, as also the small-sword and cane of Lieutenant 
Fyfe who was quartered in South Windsor. 

Connecticut had but two regiments in the Burgoyne battles, 
Cook's and Latimer's, both of which were thrown in at a critical 
moment and brought their state much credit. Capt. Zebulon Bid- 
well of East Hartford commanded one company and Captain 
Wadsworth another, made up of men from the immediate vicin- 
ity of Hartford. Both of these captains were killed in the first 
battle, September 19, 1777. A fitting memorial has been erected 
to Captain Bidwell by his descendant, Daniel D. Bidwell, who 
served in the navy in the Spanish war and is a widely known 
newspaper man. The impressive tablet stands between Bidwell 
Street and Tolland Street, near the site of the captain's home. 
The terror struck by Burgoyne's plan to cut New England off 
from the other colonies caused every able-bodied man to prepare 
in response to the call sent out through New England. Some 
reached Bennington in time to help Ethan Allen, Seth Warner 
and other Vermont sons of Connecticut check Burgoyne's prog- 
ress, and the Hartford company of the Governor's Foot Guard 
was on its way to Gates' army under its first and only orders to 
leave the state in time of war, but was turned back by the news 
of the victory at the second battle of Saratoga. Capt. Thomas 
Y. Seymour of Sheldon's Dragoons, who was serving on Arnold's 
staff, was detailed to escort Burgoyne to Boston, and so agree- 
able were his services that the general presented to him his leop- 
ard-skin saddle-cloth which frequently was seen in later days 
when Seymour was in command of the Governor's Horse Guard. 

Part of Gates' forces in October, 1778, camped in North Mea- 
dows and in West Hartford. On November 3, Governor Trum- 
bull gave an entertainment for them. There was a parade by an 
artillery company and a dinner at 3 o'clock at the Bunch of 
Grapes. Two of Gates' regiments camped here while en route 
in 1779. 

In December, 1777, Col. Samuel B. Webb of Wethersfield was 



captured in a raid he was making on Long Island. He had been 
an aid on Washington's staff till Congress had made its first call 
for three-years men, with eight regiments for the colony's quota. 
Then he was given command of one-half of the "additional" 
regiment that Congress had asked for. The colonel was ex- 
changed soon after his capture. Captain Buckland of Hartford 
was in the First Artillery with a company of Hartford men on 
this first organization of the "Continental Line." At the time 
of the battle of Saratoga the Connecticut line for the most part 
was supporting Putnam at Peekskill to prevent the enemy's get- 
ting through from the north. Webb's regiment was at Valley 
Forge the winter of 1777-8 and with Putnam at Redding, Conn., 
the next winter, when incidentally a brigade threatened to march 
on the General Assembly to demand its pay but was stopped by 
Putnam. Enos' regiment was in the battle of Monmouth in 
1778. Noadiah Hooker of Farmington commanded one of six 
battalions held in reserve. Capt. Jarius Wilcox of Wethersfield 
commanded a company of artificers in some of the campaigns. 

In that agonizing winter of 1778, the Assembly voted £60,000 
more and laid a 2-shilling tax. A bounty of $200 besides land 
was offered to rank and file. And Congress, still unable to do 
much financially, was urging every colony to pay its way so far 
as it could. No colony did this as well as Connecticut was doing; 
hence, after the war, no colony recovered more rapidly. The con- 
gressional articles of confederation in 1778 did not meet with 
the approval of the Hartford County town meetings. 

In February, 1779, Capt. Titus Hosmer of Hartford, com- 
manding a Redding outpost, detected the approach of Tryon's 
men for a raid and notified Putnam who was not far away just 
in time to enable him to escape and to return with reinforce- 
ments enough to drive the expedition back. Maj. Benjamin Tall- 
madge of Wethersfield (Sheldon's Dragoons) raided Lloyd's 
Neck, Long Island, captured 500 and broke up a nest of raiders. 
Calls for men had been coming frequently when early in 1779 
Washington asked Trumbull for 12,000 to join in an attack on 
New York; the order would have been filled had not Washington 
been compelled to abandon the plan through lack of support. 
Putnam himself, half-sick, returned with the Connecticut men 
who had started, and on his journey back to the front was pros- 
trated in Hartford. The utmost the town could do for the great 


character was done, but his military career was ended. He lin- 
gered till May 19, 1790. 

In addition to the appointment of officers to raise loans, the 
Assembly had made effort to secure systematic supplies for the 
troops, following a vote of £60,000 in credit bills. The collection 
of supplies was pitiful in amount but very large as a burden upon 
the givers. Women and children were still doing the field work 
for which the men periodically returning from the front were 
mostly unfitted. They knew another call would be published 
within a short time, perhaps tomorrow, and the man who would 
hold back would be no better than the despised Tories. In April, 
1779, the demand for flour had become so imperative that the 
Assembly requested a committee to make a census, with returns 
by householders under oath before May 6, the surplus to be sub- 
ject to orders for public use. Attempts to sell to commissaries 
at an unreasonable price would mean surrender of one's surplus ; 
those revealing a deficiency could get permission to buy what 
they needed, endorsement of amount and price paid to appear on 
the form which had to be returned to the town. A similar law 
the next year covered salt, rum, salted beef and pork. It was 
further provided that commissaries finding themselves unable to 
buy at reasonable price, could get warrants from justices of the 
peace for seizing such amounts as were required, giving a state- 
ment to be used in adjustment with the government. Attempts 
to remove any of these commodities should subject them to confis- 
cation. (Doctor Primus, a popular colored "doctor" who had 
lived with Dr. Alexander Wolcott added to his statement: 
"Awantum; sufficet.") The hardest was to get beasts of burden 
that could bring in supplies. 

The year 1780 saw the British victories in the South but also 
the end of the cabal against Washington and the first military 
results of the French alliance. On September 21 Washington, 
Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton held their first conference 
with Rochambeau at Hartford. This was Washington's second 
appearance in this vicinity and the narrative must be interrupted 
long enough to note the contrast and to include the more momen- 
tous third visit. The first visit was on June 30, 1775, when the 
Virginian, just appointed by Congress, had been dispatched to 


take command of the army at Cambridge and to try to bring 
order out of chaos. Worthy as his record already had been, he 
was little more than a name among New England people. Maj.- 
Gen. Charles Lee and a small escort accompanied him. To Mrs. 
Silas Deane of Wethersfield he brought a letter of introduction 
from her husband, then in Philadelphia. The Deane residence 
(significantly — where the Ticonderoga plot had been hatched) 
was — and is — next to the house of Joseph and Col. S. B. Webb, 
already known locally as "Hospitality Hall" because of the charm 
of Mrs. Abigal Chester Webb, the mistress of it. Either of the 
houses would add distinction to any of the typical Connecticut 
villages, then or now. At this visit there was no time to arrange 
social entertainment and the generals hurried on after brief 
refreshment through Hartford, where little note was made of 
their coming by a people stunned by the events of the preceding 

This the second coming was a matter of universal moment for 
it was with the purpose of conferring with the loudly heralded 
Rochambeau, commander of the new French forces whose voyage 
all had. acclaimed as the hope of salvation, and with him Admiral 
Ternay. With their ships and 6,000 good soldiers they had sailed 
into Newport Harbor July 10, 1780 — and there they had been 
bottled up by the fleet of Clinton, gloating in New York over his 
conquests in the South. Washington's companion at the outset 
of this journey had been his old friend Benedict Arnold, who even 
at that moment had arranged with Clinton the surrender of the 
one stronghold in the North, West Point, and in doing so was at 
one with others in his belief that the cause of independence was 
lost. Washington could see in the faces of the women and chil- 
dren who cheered him in every town he passed through — the men 
being absent in service — that that cause was not lost; pressing 
the hand of one of his suite he paused to say: "We may be beaten 
by the English in the field; it is the lot of arms; but see there the 
army which they will never overcome." 

On his approach to Hartford, Washington stopped at the home 
of Capt. Nathan Stillman of Wethersfield, once captain in Wash- 


ington's Life Guard, embraced him and brought him to Hartford 
in his suite. His destination was the home of Col. Jeremiah 
Wadsworth, where the Atheneum now stands. On the approach 
of the French group, he was escorted by Governor Trumbull and 
the Governor's Foot Guard to meet them as they came up from 
the ferry. Of the conference there is no record; at best it must 
have been solemn. But one writer puts it: "The interview was 
a genuine festival for the French, who were impatient to see the 
hero of liberty. His noble mien, the simplicity of his manner, his 
mild gravity, surpassed their expectations and gained for him 
their hearts." It was on Washington's return, as he was 
approaching West Point, that he learned of the treachery of 
Arnold, the officer he had befriended at the risk of his own repu- 

The third visit to this vicinity marked the beginning of the 
victorious end, though few but Washington could see it. One 
need picture a culmination of all the hardship and suffering of the 
previous days to realize the situation, from the people's stand- 
point, in May of that next year, 1781. But Gates had been re- 
deeming his reputation in the South and Washington had just 
received secret information that Clinton was about to send fur- 
ther reinforcements to Cornwallis in Virginia. So far as the 
world could see, England was victor in the European war, hinging 
on the rights of the seas, and the American situation was causing 
her no anxiety ; troops were plenty and generals were doing well. 
She was counting without the American spirit as typified in 
Washington, and the American cleverness which had won such 
campaigns in the French-Indian wars as had been won. 

Familiar to all readers is the glamor of this third meeting — 
the entertainment at "Hospitality Hall;" Governor Trumbull's 
reassurance of backing; the breaking of the religious Saturday 
evening calm of Wethersfield when the cavalcade attending 
Washington, General Knox and General Duportail of the French, 
stopped at the Stillman tavern; the attendance at the church with 
the beautiful spire on Sunday; the sermon by Rev. Dr. Marsh 
and the singing by the choir who repaid Washington's compli- 
ment by giving him a special concert the next night; the booming 
of guns on Monday and the escort by the Foot Guard and militia 
under the command of Capt. Frederick Bull when Rochambeau 


and his following, including Chevalier de Chastellux (Admiral 
de Barras having been detained by another British threat) 
marched up from the ferry through a cheering multitude; the 
march back to Wethersfield for the dinner at the tavern, many 
members of the Assembly in the procession. Then the conference 
Tuesday, thus summarized by Washington in his diary: "May 
22. — Fixed with Rochambeau the plan of campaign." A dinner 
was given at Collyer's tavern the night before Rochambeau left. 
Before Washington's departure on the 24th, he sent letters to all 
the New England governors to complete their battalions in the 
Continental line — for three years or the war if possible — and to 
Massachusetts a request for a loan of powder. It would have to 
be borrowed; a bushel of Continental money would hardly buy 
a keg. 

Briefly, the campaign "fixed" was that they should threaten 
New York to prevent Clinton's sending aid to Cornwallis, that the 
fleet meanwhile should make off toward southern waters, and 
that the armies should be ready to seize any chance to slip by 
Clinton, reach Cornwallis first and crush him. With its startling 
elements of boldness and desperation, that plan "fixed" American 

Washington's next visit to Hartford was in 1798 after he had 
sought private life, and the people improved their opportunity to 
express their love for him. On that occasion there was the Gov- 
ernor's Horse Guard, led by Maj. John Caldwell, to join in the 
escort with the Foot Guard. 

Lafayette, impressed with Connecticut's loyalty as shown by 
her furnishing nearly half of the twenty New England regiments 
remaining with the Continental army, wrote his wife: "No 
European army would suffer one-tenth what the American troops 
suffer. It takes patience to support hunger, nakedness, toil and 
want of pay, which constitute the conditions of our soldiers, the 
hardest and most patient to be found in the world." That is a 
picture of the situation when Washington and Rochambeau were 

The march of the French through the state was a blessed 
revelation to inhabitants who never had seen a large body of uni- 
formed men and whose knowledge of the French forces had been 
gained only from the hateful French-Indian wars. It was an 


encouraging spectacle, and the conduct of every officer and man, 
inspired by the noble commander, was such as to win the endur- 
ing respect of the cheering populace. While a body of 600 hussars 
and infantry marched as flankers from winter quarters at Leba- 
non by way of Wallingford and New Haven, the main body of 
4,000 effective troops took the road from Providence, the four 
regiments proceeding with intervals of one day's march between 
them so as not to overburden the towns where they encamped 
each night. The commissariat had been arranged in advance. 
Rochambeau reached East Hartford, by way of Bolton, on June 
24 with the first division and left on the 25th, and the others in 
order of arrival. The officers wore white uniforms; the men, 
according to regiment, white, white and green, black and red, and 
the artillery blue with red facings. The Courant was enthusi- 
astic over them as had been President Stiles of Yale when he 
saw them at Newport. The officers were pressed to accept the 
hospitality of various homes, while the rations of beef and pork 
for the men were eked out and served by the women of the towns 
with delicacies they had vied in preparing. In East Hartford, 
there was another surprising feast for long unaccustomed eyes 
when silver coins were taken from kegs to pay the soldiers, and 
the road at that place from that day unto this has served as a 
memorial to that great event by bearing the name of "Silver 
Lane." (The location was marked by boulder and tablet, with 
patriotic ceremonies, in 1928.) 

Their next night's encampment was at the south end of Farm- 
ington, across the brook that flows from Diamond Glen. On the 
green in that town a bronze tablet has been set in honor of "our 
French allies," with exercises described in the history of the town 
in another part of this work. Thence the route was through 
Middlebury and Southbury to Dobb's Ferry and Washington's 
camp. After the surrender of Cornwallis October 19, 1783, the 
French were on duty in Virginia till the next fall, when they 
marched to Boston to embark, passing through Farmington and 
Hartford in two columns the last days of October. 

The right of the line against Cornwallis had been given to 
Lafayette. Ten of his thirty-six companies were from Connecti- 
cut, two of them in Lieut-Col. Alexander Hamilton's battalion of 
four companies on the extreme right, the place of honor. Among 
the officers were Maj. John P. Wyllys of Hartford and Capts. 


Jonathan Hart of Farmington and Roger Welles of Newington. 
Webb continued in the service till late in 1783, even after the 
Connecticut line had been reduced to three regiments, and was 
made brigadier in September. Capt. Elisha Hopkins of Hartford 
led one of the companies on the evacuation of New York, Novem- 
ber 25, 1783. 

Connecticut had furnished 31,959 men of the Continental 
army, not including those who enlisted in other states, or 14 per 
cent of the total, a larger percentage than any other state on a 
three-years basis. The state's population in 1790 was 238,141 
out of a grand total of 4,000,000 for the country. Her expenses 
had been $20,199,531; the Government in course of time reim- 
bursed with $2,445,679, leaving the state's net contribution 
$17,753,852, actual public expenditures only. The state had been 
loyal but it had reserved the right to criticise and to resent in- 
fringement of state rights, as seen in resolutions adopted in Hart- 
ford town meeting in 1783 for the Assembly. They resented all 
encroachments of Congress upon the sovereignty and jurisdiction 
of the states and every assumption of power not expressly vested 
in the Articles of Confederation. In particular the resolutions 
desired investigation as to whether Congress was authorized to 
give half pay for life to officers or commutation of five-years' full 
pay, and if such right had been obtained, it should be taken away. 
Protest was- made against the appointment of an ambassador to 
Europe — an unbearable expense under prevailing conditions. 
Finally, the resolutions called for removal of placemen, pensioners 
and all superfluous officers of government, and the publication of 
the yeas and nays upon every important question in the House. 

The peace celebration, locally, was not so disastrous as that 
on the occasion of the repeal of the Stamp Act, but seriously 
threatened the State House. The small cupola on the modest 
building caught fire and was destroyed, never to be replaced. 

The Governor's Horse Guard, to which reference has been 
made, was authorized as an escort to the governor by action of 
the Assembly in 1788. Several of the signers of the petition had 
been charter members of the Governor's Foot Guard. Capt. 
Thomas Y. Seymour was the moving spirit, succeeding Major 
Caldwell in command in 1792. It was the first uniformed cavalry 

16— VOL. 1 


organization in the state and out of it was to grow the present-day 

The celebrated Newgate prison, one of the historical features 
of the state, visited by thousands each year, was on the highest 
point of land in East Granby. There the first copper mining in 
America was begun in 1705. Ten shilling on each ton had to be 
paid to the town. Part of this went to the support of Yale. 
Three ministers named Woodbridge, of Springfield, Simsbury and 
Hartford, — John, Dudley and Timothy, Jr. — conducted the busi- 
ness for a period of time. As England would allow no smelting in 
America, the ore had to be shipped to London. In the 1730s com- 
panies in Boston, London and Holland put in much money there. 
Samuel Higley's mine where were made the copper tokens 
marked "I am a good copper" and "Value me as you like," so 
highly prized by collectors today, was half a mile to the south- 
ward. The General Assembly took over the property for a prison 
in 1773 and named it Newgate after the famous English prison. 
The first convict escaped in two weeks, and thereafter there was 
a series of uprisings, escapes and fires. In 1777 all the prisoners 
were taken to the prison in Hartford. In 1780, however, the 
prison was rebuilt, only to be abandoned again in 1782 and then 
rebuilt in 1790 and to be used till the prison at Wethersfield was 
completed in 1827. The wall around the yard was built in 1802. 
At night the inmates were confined in the watery substructure 
where also was a treadmill. After passing into the possession of 
private owners, mining was tried again several times up to 1859. 
Today it is in the hands of Col. Clarence W. Seymour, of Hart- 
ford, who is carefully preserving it for its historical associations, 
aside from charm of wonderful scenery. (Other details are given 
in the Simsbury and East Granby section). 

(From Barber's Historical Collections, 1830) 





Beginning with the Federation of New England Colonies 
(less Rhode Island), there had been sundry efforts to form a gen- 
eral union when Congress in 1776, on July 4, by mandate of the 
people, adopted the Declaration of Independence. Silas Deane 
of Wethersfield had been a delegate to the Philadelphia conven- 
tion of 1774, called on the passage of the Stamp Act. During 
the war it was more and more evident that there must be a con- 
gress that was something stronger than an advisory board. On 
November 11, 1780, a convention of New England and New York 
was held in Hartford, the home of independence since 1639, to 
advocate a congress on constitutional footing. Its recommenda- 
tions, including that for laying impost to raise revenue, were 
taken up by Congress and from that time forward there were 
constant efforts to build up a federal republic. One state after 
another acceded to the confederation idea and relinquished its 
claim to territory beyond its borders. Oliver Ellsworth of Wind- 
sor and Hartford was one of the three ablest lawyers of the day 
appointed to report on how Congress could be given the power 
of coercion without which victory in the war, even if possible, 
would be useless. The report was a document in the campaign 
of education, preparing the way for Washington, in his circular 
to the people after the close of the war, to insist upon a consti- 

In January 1781, Connecticut was the first of the states to 
grant import collectible by Congress — to the end of the third year 
after the war. Hamilton with Morris was working up the 
national bank. The next year New York spoke out for a federal 
convention, reiterating the ideas of the Hartford convention. 



Money meanwhile was being advanced by France — largely 
through Deane's influence — and all was going well till Rhode 
Island first and then Virginia opposed allowing anyone outside 
their borders to levy taxes on them. The six years' conflict be- 
tween Washington and Madison in the latter state against Rich- 
ard Henry Lee, champion of state sovereignty, had begun. 

Meantime, led by Hartford County men, Connecticut was fur- 
nishing an example of the beneficence of authority by a union. 
Her claim to Westmoreland in the Pennsylvania section, strictly 
just by her charter, had caused warlike clashes between the 
Connecticut founders and the neighboring Pennsylvanians. Both 
states agreed to leave the dispute to five commissioners appointed 
by Congress, and Connecticut submitted quietly to the adverse 
decision, her precious charter for the first time overridden. 

Connecticut's charter entitled her to all the land between the 
given parallels, to the Pacific, and her rights were acknowledged 
at different times, as when the Mississippi was to be considered 
the western boundary. In ceding her rights she asked and 
received rights to three and a half million acres west of the Penn- 
sylvania line, or eleven of the counties in present northeastern 
Ohio, the disposition of which will be mentioned later, since 
Hartford County men were much concerned in it. 

The country's perils had thickened during the days of drafting 
the peace treaty. The venerable Governor Trumbull, retiring 
from public life, responded heartily to Washington's letter of 
warning to the people. Noah Webster, writing in Hartford, said 
that so long as one state had the power to defeat the will of the 
other twelve, the confederation was a cobweb; state sovereignty 
in relation to state government must be maintained, but on what- 
ever affected all states, a majority of states must decide. "As a 
•citizen of the American empire, every individual has a national 
interest far superior to all others." 

The hope of an industrial revival in Hartford and elsewhere 
was crushed by importation at low prices of English goods which 
merchants overbought; traffic with the Indies was destroyed 
by England's prohibition on American bottoms ; pitch, ship mate- 
rial and tobacco no longer could be sold to England. The common 
cry was echoed in Hartford streets that there must be a congress 
to lay prohibitive tariff as states were doing independently. New 


seeds of bitterness were being sown. For England's part, she 
knew not how to deal with an un-united and now alien country 
and adopted severity, born of pessimism — applying rigid naviga- 
tion laws and holding military posts on the frontiers because some 
of her creditor citizens here had not been treated justly. 

Further need of a union was marked in the confusion as to 
currency of different states. Connecticut had been the first, by 
act of the Assembly in Hartford when the Lexington alarm was 
sounded, to issue paper currency for war expenses. The bills 
were not good in private business, and the issue was suspended 
from 1777 to 1780. Then the Assembly discriminated between 
contracts calling for coin and those calling for paper and gave 
the courts authority to referee, meantime providing a table to 
mark the rate of depreciation. The first New England state to 
use paper money, it was the first to return to coin. "Its people," 
says Bancroft, "as they were frugal, industrious and honest, 
dwelt together in peace, while other states were rent by factions." 
"For demanding reforms, and persisting in the demands, Con- 
necticut had the most hopeful record." 

Congress continued impotent. Virginia led the way with the 
tentative Annapolis convention and then inspired the great one 
at Philadelphia in 1787. Some states were backward, but for 
Connecticut the voice heard in Hartford was no less certain than 
that heard when Hooker addressed the General Court, or when 
Fletcher got his answer, or when the die had been cast at Lexing- 
ton. Elizur Goodrich of Wethersfield, in his election sermon, 
invoked the shade of a prophet of Israel to prove the need of a 
national union and a national honor. Governor Huntington 
urged on an Assembly which sent to the convention Roger Sher- 
man, William S. Johnson and Oliver Ellsworth, the Windsor 
statesman and jurist, imperturable of nature, clear-minded and 
convincing. They were "so able that scarce any delegation stood 
before them," to use the words of an eminent commentator. Ells- 
worth, only 42, had served on the committee in 1781 for amending 
the then Constitution and the committee in 1783 for considering 
further reform. He had been a student at Yale and had gradu- 
ated at the College of New Jersey in 1768. He had been state's 
attorney, a member of the Assembly, and, like Sherman, was a 
judge of the Superior Court. 

Connecticut with her inheritance, and her experience under 


it for 150 years, was against the Virginia plan for two houses 
of Congress both with representation by population, and a presi- 
dent and judiciary appointed by such Congress. Between the 
"large" and "small" states her delegates became the mediators. 
"This," to quote Historian Johnstone, "is the crowning glory of 
the system which Hooker inaugurated in the wilderness, and of 
the commonwealth of Connecticut." "It is hardly too much to 
say that the birth of the Constitution was merely the grafting 
of the Connecticut system on the stock of the old confederation, 
where it has grown into richer luxuriance than Hooker ever could 
have dreamed of." Ellsworth agreed that the first (lower) house 
should be chosen by the people but held to the principle that the 
Senate should be chosen by the legislatures, to tie in the state and 
federal governments. Then he threw his whole strength into his 
motion that vote in the upper house should be by states, making 
the government partly federal and partly national ; "if the great 
states refuse this plan, we shall forever be separated." 

This is known in history as the "Connecticut compromise." 
Long and earnestly the battle raged around it. For the first and 
only time, some of these, the country's ablest, stooped to person- 
alities. The convention seemed doomed to failure. When on 
subsequent days this feature came up, Ellsworth and his col- 
leagues, voting as one, were firm, unperturbed. Virginia could 
not yield. Franklin was moved to ask that sessions be opened by 
prayer, for their trust should be in the Lord. All hearts were 
heavy. To hasty aspersion upon Connecticut by the powerful 
Madison, zealous promoter of the convention, Ellsworth replied 
calmly, fixing his eyes upon Washington, the presiding officer : 

"To you I can with confidence appeal for the great exer- 
tions of my state during the war in supplying both men and 
money. The muster rolls will show that she had more troops 
in the field than even the state of Virginia. We strained 
every nerve to raise them; and we spared neither money 
nor exertion to complete our quotas. This extraordinary 
exertion has greatly impoverished us, and has accumulated 
our state debts; but we defy any gentleman to show that we 
ever refused a federal requisition. If she has proved delin- 
quent through inability only, it is not more than others 
have been without the same excuse. It is the ardent wish 
of the state to strengthen the federal government." 


On July 5 five states voted with Ellsworth; five of the 
"national" states voted against him. Georgia, the sixth "na- 
tional" state, was divided when Abraham Baldwin, a native of 
Connecticut, voted for the Connecticut plan. Franklin also had 
come to favor it. The matter went back to the special committee 
of one from each state. On July 16 the committee submitted an 
amended report. It was now evident that New Hampshire and 
Rhode Island if present would vote against the nationalists who 
still refused to see that their plan must some day enable the large 
states, by controlling the votes of both houses, to establish a 
tyranny over the small states. When finally the vote was taken, 
North Carolina broke from the large states and the Connecticut 
plan was adopted by a majority of one. Governor Simeon E. 
Baldwin's comment is: "It was the influence of Connecticut that 
thus stamped on the United States its dual character, and left 
the states still sovereign, though within a narrowed sphere." 
And he continues : 

"Two years later the new government came into being. 
It was Oliver Ellsworth, sent by Connecticut to represent her 
in the first session of the Senate, and made chairman of 
its judiciary committee, who drew up the act of Congress 
under which the courts of the United States were organized. 
It shaped the judicial system of the Union closely to the pat- 
tern of that then existing here, and its merit is evinced by 
its remaining substantially unchanged for a hundred years, 
and with but slight modifications to the present day." 

And Ellsworth later was appointed by Washington to be chief 
justice of the United States. 

The story of the ratification of the Constitution by the indi- 
vidual states is another exciting chapter in American history. 
Connecticut's ratifying vote, at convention held in Hartford, was 
128 to 40. 

To complete the account of the Western Reserve in Ohio: In 
1792 some 500,000 acres in the western portion of it were given 
for the relief of those who had suffered by the raids of the Brit- 
ish during the war and came to be called the "Fire Lands." The 
rest of the land was sold in 1795 for $1,200,000 to a land company 
composed of forty-eight men in the state, the foremost of whom 
were Oliver Phelps of Windsor and Suffield and Gideon Granger, 
Jr., of Suffield, after which considerable bodies of emigrants 


journeyed to that wild frontier, still often referred to as "Con- 
necticut Reserve." The money was set aside for a school fund, 
the interest from which has ever since been devoted to school 
purposes. Mr. Phelps was also prominent in a similar enterprise 
for land granted to Massachusetts which land is now Westchester 
County in New York. 




Habit of thought and ways of doing business had been greatly 
changed by the long war period. Bankrupt as the state was, the 
activities of individual men had been quickened and thought had 
been given to improving methods. In Hartford, New Haven, 
New London, Norwich and Middletown there was resolve to 
incorporate as cities, a privilege granted Hartford May 29, 1784. 
The lines ran from "Dutch ground" to a point north of Charter 
Oak Avenue (using present-day designations) ; thence to the 
southwest corner of Wethersfield Avenue and Wyllys Street; 
thence westerly to the corner of Washington and Jefferson; 
thence northwesterly to about the corner of Park and Lafayette; 
thence northerly to Broad (Imlay's "upper mills") ; thence north- 
erly to the corner of Windsor Avenue and Belden Street; thence 
east to the river. With changes in 1821, 1853, 1859, 1871 and 
1873, town and city lines were made the same in 1881. Annually 
in March the freemen were to elect a mayor, to hold office during 
the pleasure of the Assembly ; four aldermen and a maximum of 
twenty councilmen as a court of common council; also a clerk, a 
treasurer and two sheriffs. All by-laws must be submitted to 
popular vote. There should be a city court presided over by the 
mayor and two aldermen to hear personal actions (where land 
title was not involved) grounded on contract or injury. 

George Wyllys, senior justice of the peace, presided at the first 
election, June 28, 1784, when Col. Thomas Seymour, 4th, was 
elected mayor, a position he held thirty-eight years. The alder- 
men were Col. Samuel Wyllys, Jonathan Bull, Jesse Root and 
Capt. Samuel Marsh ; councilmen : Capt. John Chevenard, Barna- 
bas Deane, Ralph Pomeroy, James Church, Chauncey Goodrich, 



Peter Colt, Capt. John Olcott, Capt. John Caldwell, Zebulon Sey- 
mour, Zachariah Pratt, Ashbell Steele, William Nichols, John 
Trumbull, Barzillai Hudson, Capt. Israel Seymour, Daniel Olcott, 
Daniel Hinsdale; city clerk, William Adams; treasurer, Hezekiah 
Merrill ; sheriffs, Capt. Joseph Talcott, James Wells. To the list 
of councilmen should be added the name of Col. Jeremiah Wads- 
worth who had written from abroad that he intended to use some 
of his means to "build up my native town." Solomon Porter's 
plot of the city was made and approved, street lines were cor- 
rected and nuisances abated and prohibited. 

There had been fierce opposition to the incorporating, on the 
ground that town power was ample. It would mean heavier taxes 
to provide the improvements and it were better to let well-enough 
alone. What, then, were the conditions at the time? 

In population, Hartford had 3,027 in 1756, a little less than 
Farmington and Windsor; in 1782, Hartford had 5,495, about 
the same as Farmington and 2,000 more than Windsor; in 1790, 
after East Hartford had been set off (1783), Hartford numbered 
4,000 to Farmington and Windsor each about 2,400. Streets were 
still in disgraceful condition in the '80s. Agriculture and ship- 
ping were the chief occupations. The "public landing" was on 
Little River east of Front Street, where long had been a landing, 
near Governor Hopkins' house, and there the trade of the South 
Side was largely conducted. The Boston-New York stage began 
running bi-weekly in 1772. Toll roads did not come in till 1792, 
and it was to be nearly a hundred years (1839) before towns took 
care of highways. From 1640 to 1784 only one new highway was 
ordered in Hartford. In 1760 Hartford's main street (Queen 
Street) was declared, in a futile petition for a lottery, to be the 
worst road in the colony. The first stones to make it more pass- 
able were put in in 1790. 

The number of stores had been increased since 1747 when 
Ebenezer Plummer of Newburyport had been advised to locate 
in Glastonbury because Hartford already had one. Most of them 
were near the warehouses along the river, but now their signs 
were beginning to appear on the main street. These stores were 
in the lower part of dwellings which encroached upon the original 
road. Dr. William Jepson opened a drug store in 1783 near the 
South Church, and kept a supply of surgical instruments. From 


I'm OF il \KI'l hud, ITS.". 


Meeting-house Yard northward, the east side of the street already 
had been preempted by drygoods, together with jewelry, drugs 
and provisions. On the west side it still was mostly residences. 
Capt. Samuel Wadsworth's house stood on an embankment eight 
feet high on the north corner of present Asylum Street. 

Most of the maritime trade preceding the Revolution had been 
with the West Indies, and in it were men of such familiar names 
as Bunce, Forbes, Chevenard, Goodwin, Caldwell, Olcott and 
Bigelow. John Ellery, proprietor of the "Great Store" at the foot 
of present Potter Street, and Col. Samuel Talcott were two of the 
leading merchants in this river district. Col. Jeremiah Wads- 
worth (1743-1804), son of Rev. Daniel Wadsworth of the First 
Church, was one of those who took advantage of reviving trade. 
He served in Congress and the upper house of the Legislature. 
He was the father of Daniel Wadsworth, founder of the Athe- 
neum. His wife was the daughter of Governor Trumbull. In 
Minister's Lane, which was being opened as Prospect Street, 
because of the wonderful view it had over the lowlands and down 
the river, he built two houses, one for himself on the site of what 
is now the Atheneum Annex, a part of the institution named in 
his honor. The Watkinsons and others built there, making of it 
quite the select residential section, remote from business activ- 
ities. As such it remained through many generations, defying 
the crowding of business and changing most gracefully, without 
losing its atmosphere, to admit Club Row, the beautiful Times 
building, and the eastern grounds of the Civic Center. Jacob 
Ogden built a large warehouse on Ferry Street in 1781 and the 
building on State Street which became the celebrated Ransom's 
Coffee House and later Exchange Hotel. John Morgan (1753- 
1842) was another of those active in retrieving after the war. 
He was beginning activities which were to give him a leading 
position well on into the next century. He built the most notable 
block of stores on the street which bears his name, and there 
also his own fine residence. Elias Morgan, his half brother, 
built two houses and the New Theater. 

Maj. John Caldwell (1755-1838), son of Capt. John Caldwell, 
owned large ships in the carrying trade but his fortune was wiped 
out by the War of 1812. As already noted he was the first com- 
mander of the Governor's Horse Guard, was president of the 
Hartford Bank and altogether was one of the most valued citi- 


zens. His daughter Sarah was the mother of Col. Samuel Colt; 
his daughter Margaret married Jared Scarborough who owned 
much land on Scarborough Hill, now Prospect Hill. Barnabas 
Deane, who previously has been mentioned, was one of the leaders. 

"Sinking Fund" was for half a century the common name for 
the section along the river north of Morgan Street. A number of 
leading merchants in 1791, including Morgan, Caldwell, Wads- 
worth and Jones, bought the section and built docks, all profits 
to be put into a sinking fund till the property was paid for. The 
river teemed with trade southward to Potter Street, where there 
was a busy shipyard, while the northern docks attracted little 
and went to ruin. Flatboats extended the trade to northern 
New England, being poled over the falls at Enfield, and great 
rafts of timber were floated down from the north. For inland 
trade, over fairly good roads, there was a long string of carts 
to the west and northwest till the Boston and Albany railroad 
was built, and a tavern every few miles. At the one near the 
corner of present Windsor Avenue a fresh barrel of rum was 
opened each morning for the refreshment of tired drivers. The 
increase in business compelled the extension of State Street from 
Front to the river in 1800, and warehouses began to encroach 
on the residential section of both Front and State streets. Before 
many years the Courant's advertisements showed there were 
enterprising establishments conducted by Dennison Morgan, 
James M. Bunce, Eliphalet Averill, Elisha Peck, Nathan Morgan, 
Russell Bunce, Solomon Porter and Company, David Porter, 
David Watkinson, Edward Watkinson and Eli Ely. The largest 
West India concern was that of Eliphalet and Roderick Terry, 
sons of Eliphalet Terry of Enfield, at the junction of Main and 
Windsor streets. 

The struggle to overcome financial stringency, heavy debt, 
high taxes and lack of stable currency, to say nothing of depre- 
ciation of labor and the lowering of moral standards, was brave 
but not always successful. The women in 1786 banded together 
in an association pledged to eschew ribbons, feathers, beaver hats, 
furs, muslins, chintzes and silks except for weddings, in the belief 
that "calamities are caused in great measure by the luxury and 
extravagance of individuals." This was not altogether pleasing 
to the followers of President Stiles of Yale who had been studying 


the silk subject since 1732 and with Nathaniel Aspinwall had 
originated the industry. He had secured the planting of mul- 
berry trees here and in many towns with view to raising the 
cocoons at home, and after forty years of devotion to the cause 
he wore a gown of Connecticut silk at commencement in 1789. 
The county's interest in the sequel to this in the next century 
was to be deep. 

Manufacture of broadcloth was encouraged by legislation in 
1788. On land acquired by Ralph Pomeroy near the foot of pres- 
ent Mulberry Street, Daniel Hinsdale and a stock company includ- 
ing men like Wadsworth, Jesse Root, Oliver Ellsworth, Peter 
Colt and Mayor Thomas Seymour, established the country's first 
woollen mill that year. The capital was $6,000. Before the mill 
became Cyprian Nichols' soap factory, it had given the name 
Factory Lane to present Gold Street and had made history. 
National advertising had been the first and most successful step. 
The first outside ''display ad" appeared in the Daily Advertiser 
of New York, January 16, 1789. Nathaniel Hazard of 51 Water 
Street made known that he had "just received from the flourish- 
ing manufactory at Hartford a few pieces of superfine BROAD- 
CLOTHS of an excellent quality," in both "London Smoke and 
Hartford Grey." 

By a letter recently found, George Washington read that 
advertisement and at once quoted it to General Knox, then liv- 
ing in New York, with commission to purchase him a suit of 
clothes of such color as the general should prefer, remarking 
however that if the dye did not seem well fixed or the cloth after 
all should not be very fine, "some color mixed in might be prefer- 
able to an indifferent (stained) dye." Nothing more would be 
needed except the twist for the button holes. He hoped the goods 
could be sent by stage within a short time. "Mrs. Washington 
would be equally thankful to you for purchasing for her as much 
of what is called (in the advertisement) London Smoke as will 
make her a riding habit. If the choice of these clothes have been 
disposed of in New York, where could they be had from Hart- 
ford in Connecticut where I perceive a manufactory of them is 

When the first Congress assembled that spring, President 
Washington, Vice President Adams and the Connecticut delega- 
tion, including Senator Oliver Ellsworth of the stock company, 

17— VOL. 1 


wore at the inauguration dark "Congress Brown" suits, and at 
the opening session of the next year, Washington's suit was of 
the same kind but of "crow color." This color then was adver- 
tised as "changeable hues — $2.50 to $5 a yard." Two years later, 
a lottery was authorized for providing more machinery; in 1794, 
a dividend was paid with goods in hand; that was the only divi- 
dend and the business collapsed under the pressure of cheaper 
goods from England. 

Normand Smith was establishing in 1794 the first harness and 
saddlery business of importance in the country which was to be 
carried on for many generations by his descendants and continues 
today as the Smith-Worthington Company, on Sigourney Street. 

Upon these scenes of renewed activity, and on Main Street, 
appeared in 1797 Dr. Apollos Kinsley in the first self-power 
vehicle, driven by steam and immediately dominating the mirey 
thoroughfare. It was the fruit of his own genius. Days of witch- 
craft were past but there were inhabitants who could see naught 
but evil in the invention, and their prophecy that the fiery, noisy 
thing could not live long was fulfilled. Discouraged most perhaps 
by bad roads, the doctor turned his genius to other lines, and 
invented a pin-making apparatus and the first brick-burning 
machine, by aid of which he built his house on Kinsley Street. 
The world's present revolution in vehicular traffic was postponed 
a hundred years. 

Commemorated by a bronze tablet in the Capitol by order of 
the Legislature, John Fitch, born in South Windsor in 1743, was 
the first man to apply steam to the propulsion of watercraft, 
using therefor a condensing engine before he knew of the Watt 
engine. The honor is sometimes still given to Livingston and to 
Fulton who launched his Clermont in 1807, but the official rec- 
ords of New Jersey show that Fitch's invention was recognized 
in 1786 and he given rights to run his steamboat. Delaware, New 
York, Pennsylvania and Virginia granted him similar rights in 
1787. In 1788 he had a boat making regular trips at Philadelphia, 
and in 1791, Washington, Jefferson and Knox signed the letters 
patent given by Congress after it had received jurisdiction over 
the navigable waters of the nation. In 1824 the New York Gen- 



eral Assembly officially confirmed this priority after an investi- 
gation of the claims — never pushed by Fulton but by those who 
sought to make the honor his. Admiral Bunce Section of the 
National Navy League was instrumental in collecting still more 
evidence in 1909 and in having the memorial tablet placed. Fred- 
eric Knapp, chairman of the legislative committee, caused to be 
published a valuable monograph of the evidence at that time. As 
a farmer's boy, Fitch worked for Timothy Cheney, the East Hart- 
ford clock maker. After his marriage he left home because of 
domestic infelicity and thereafter led a life of most romantic 
wanderings, as clock tinker, button maker, surveyor, map maker, 
gun maker and peddler, before he turned his thoughts to the use 
of steam in 1785 at Philadelphia. While making maps of the 
Middle West he was taken prisoner by the Indians and was held 
by them and in Quebec, finally winning his exchange by his clev- 
erness in carving metal. In the Revolution he was a lieutenant 
from New Jersey till his skill as a gunsmith caused him to be 
sent back to open a shop. Later all his machinery was destroyed 
by the British and for a while he was an army sutler at Valley 
Forge. In 1793 he went to France to get rights and build a boat, 
but the Revolution there preventing, he left his designs with the 
American consul (who loaned them to Fulton for some months), 
came home discouraged, went to Bardstown, Kentucky, and there 
shot himself in 1798. A monument given by Hon. S. E. Elmore 
was erected in 1914 to mark Fitch's birthplace in South Windsor. 


Presented by Fitch to the American Philosophical 

Society of Philadelphia, now in the Smithsonian 

Institute, Washington, D. C. 

The fire department had its origin five years after the incor- 
poration of the city. Every citizen had to keep a supply of buck- 
ets which were enumerated yearly. Water was supplied from 


cisterns, nearly all of which were within the lines of present 
streets, their number being increased by one a year as territory 
extended. There was a large one near the State House. They 
were built substantially of brick or stone. Every citizen had to 
respond to the cry of "Fire" and take buckets with him. A double 
line would be formed from wells or cisterns, one for passing along 
the buckets, the other for returning them. Most of the water 
for the cisterns came from adjacent roofs, the eaves of which 
connected with the cisterns by channel or wooden pipes. The 
largest cisterns held 1,200 gallons. The first engine house was 
provided in 1790, for housing a cart in which buckets and axes 
could be kept. Fire limits were established in 1799, with regula- 
tions that all chimneys within the limits must be of brick or stone. 
Prior to that, chimney sweeps had been required. 

Great improvement in traveling was inaugurated when the 
Hartford, New London, Windham and Tolland turnpikes were 
chartered in 1795. They were under the control of commis- 
sioners. Gates were about ten miles apart. Tolls were 25 cents 
for a stage, or carriage, 6*4 cents for a one-horse wagon and 1 
cent for each animal driven. 

The county sheriff, the two city sheriffs and the constables 
constituted the police force till in 1797 the city was divided into 
four wards each with a "ward and watch" — James Pratt, Ezekiel 
Williams, Ashbell Wells and Richard Butler respectively. 

Through committees the town had managed the classical 
school, the inception of which has been told. In 1798 it was incor- 
porated as the Hartford Grammar School. The Second North 
School was started in 1793, occupying rented quarters till a build- 
ing was built at the junction of Ann and High streets. 

The First Baptist Church was organized in March, 1790, and 
four years later its first edifice was built at the corner of Dorr, 
now Market Street, and Division, later Theater and now Temple 
Street. Rev. Eahanan Winchester, a Universalist minister best 
known in Philadelphia and London, died here in 1797 and the Gen- 
eral Convention of Universalist churches erected the monument 
over his grave. 

Indicative of the times, the Charitable Society of Hartford 
was organized in 1792 to furnish relief for those not provided for 
under the poor-laws. This the first charitable organization in the 


city has been well maintained ever since, its funds being dis- 
tributed by almoners. The Missionary Society of Connecticut 
was organized in 1798, with headquarters later at the Congrega- 
tional Home on Garden Street. 

Chastellux in his "Travels," 1780, wrote that Hartford was 
"one long street parallel with the river" and "did not merit atten- 
tion." Brissot de Warville, the French traveler, wrote in 1788: 
"The environs of Hartford displayed charming cultivated coun- 
try, neat, elegant houses, vast meadows, covered with herds of 
cattle of enormous size. To describe the neighborhood of Hart- 
ford is to describe Connecticut. Nature and art have here dis- 
played all their treasures; it is really the paradise of the United 

"Wethersfield," he wrote further, "is remarkable for its vast 
fields, uniformly covered with onions, of which great quantities 
are exported to the West Indies. It is likewise remarkable for 
its elegant meeting-house or church. On Sunday it is said to 
offer an enchanting spectacle by the number of young, handsome 
persons who assemble there, and by the agreeable music with 
which they intermingle the divine service." This was one of the 
churches where individual and disputatious sentiments were giv- 
ing place to united effort to restore the pre-war standards of 
morality among the people and to promote toleration of sects. 
From Washington's impression and de Warville's, the beautiful 
church in Wethersfield must have been a leader, but there is evi- 
dence of lingering traditions in this extract from the records of 
that church in 1790: "Whereas there have been great distur- 
bances in this church and society on account of the seating of the 
congregation, therefore be it resolved that here after the seating- 
committee shall place people 'first' with regard to their wealth, 
'second' with regard to their position in society, and 'third' with 
respect to their piety." Sittings by decree of a committee in 
churches in general was not superseded till later; the custom of 
selling pews auctionwise to raise funds was inaugurated in Nor- 
wich in 1791. 

New England's colonial relations with the mother country 
from the beginning had not been of a kind to foster regard for 
the Church of England. In many places bitterness added to an- 
tipathy during the Revolution, but in the federation, what with 


Washington and other leaders being members of that church, and 
in Connecticut loyal men like William Samuel Johnson of the 
Constitutional Convention, and in Hartford, such citizens as Wil- 
liam Pitkin, John Morgan, Jacob Ogden and William Imlay, 
there was a sense of what was, under the circumstances, very 
notable toleration. America's first bishop was consecrated in 
Connecticut, as has been said, the first year after the war in 
which he had served as a chaplain of a British regiment. 

The first William Pitkin in 1664 was one of the complainants 
against being deprived of personal preferences and having to 
contribute toward the support of ministers of other faith than 
theirs. Ninety-eight years later John Keith and others of the 
parish which had been formed bought a church site where now 
stands the cathedral of the diocese and began to build but aban- 
doned their plan and sold the lot because of the general unsettled 
conditions. After litigation over the sale, the property was re- 
stored to the parish, in 1772, by the Superior Court. 

Two years after the consecration of Bishop Seabury, there was 
reorganization and Mr. Imlay and Mr. Morgan were chosen war- 
dens. By 1792 a fund had been raised for building the church. 
Some of the contributions were in the form of "pure spirit," some 
in molasses, and that of Noah Webster, Jr., was seven dozen of 
Webster's spelling books. The edifice, of frame construction, was 
consecrated in 1801. The present one replaced it in 1829. At the 
semi-centennial celebration Bishop Clark said of it, referring to 
more pretentious churches which had been built : "None of them 
is as far in advance of Christ Church, Hartford, as this was of 
all others that existed at the date of its consecration." In the 
earlier days services had been held under direction of the English 
missionary organization. Calvin Whiting was lay reader in 1795. 
The first of the distinguished list of rectors was Menzies Rayner, 
1801 to 1811. The work of the Episcopal Church always has been 
hand in hand with that of those of the faith of the colony's 




Founder Thomas Hooker would have been known for his the- 
ological treatises even if he never had been known as builder of 
free government. Jonathan Edwards' writings gave him a name 
more enduring than that for his "Great Awakening." Roger 
Wolcott of Windsor (1679-1767), soldier, jurist and statesman, 
became the leading poet of New England in his later days. He 
laboriously mingled colonial scenes with landscapes of the an- 
cients, and Indian chiefs with dwellers on Parnassus. The "Hart- 
ford Wits" were the first to make of Hartford a national literary 
center. They were Yale graduates who had chosen Hartford for 
their rendezvous in the strife of Washington and federalism for 
closer union of the states, against Jefferson and anti-federalism 
for greater independence of the states and French democracy. 
They "hung up the sword in Hartford, and grasped the lyre." 
France was seeking America's aid in her wars ; mobs were doing 
violence under Shay of Massachusetts and other leaders; a cer- 
tain element were refusing to pay taxes and denouncing Wash- 
ington and his officers as aristocrats, hundreds of orators were 
appealing to the masses to rise and prevent a new monarchy. 
Among the literary authorities, Barrett Wendell says of the Wits : 
"An heroic, patriotic effort they stand for, and one made with 
enthusiasm, wit and courage." And Carl Halliday: "Undoubt- 
edly they helped to an appreciable degree in the preservation of 
the nation." 



John Trumbull* (Watertown, 1750— Detroit, Mich., 1831), 
was a tutor at Yale where he was graduated at the age of 17 and 
a student of law, a clashing writer there and in Boston who, it is 
said, would have been another Pope or Dryden had not the cause 
of liberty called him to the field of political satire. His "Progress 
of Dulness" and "McFingal" gave him fame that seems to flash 
out periodically with new glamor. The former was a satire on 
college systems, on worthless boys of wealth in college and on not 
giving women opportunity for higher education. The latter and 
stronger is the still fascinating story of a Scotch orator who stood 
for submission to Parliament, as against "Honorius," a patriot. 
"McFingal" was completed in Hartford and ran into scores of 
editions — mostly pirated — both here and in Europe. In Hart- 
ford he became state's attorney, member of the Assembly, judge 
of the Superior Court, judge of the Supreme Court and treasurer 
of Yale for many years. Some of his writings in 1775 were ap- 
pearing in the Courant and no doubt the character of that paper 
was one of the reasons for the Wits' choosing Hartford for their 

Another reason was the divergence of Yale and Harvard sen- 
timent in the field of religion, Harvard having a spasm of unor- 
thodoxy while Yale thinkers were firm for the old faith. Timothy 
Dwight, Sr., chaplain in the war, and later, as president of Yale, 
the inspirer of the second great religious revival, was directing 
his humor along with his preachments against the ungodly, as 
shown by this quotation from one of the more famous poems, 
referring to a Harvard cleric : 

"* * * the smooth Divine, unused to wound 
The sinner's heart, with hell's alarming sound. 
No terrors on this gentle tongue attend ; 
No grating truths the nicest ear offend." 

* Joseph and Judah Trumbull were settlers in Suffield. Each had a son John. 
Joseph's son John (the elder of the two), born in 1670, was great-grandfather of John 
Trumbull, LL. D., the writer and jurist and state treasurer. Joseph, another son of 
Joseph of Suffield settled in Lebanon and was the father of Governor Jonathan Trum- 
bull. The latter's eldest son Joseph was commissary-general early in the Revolution; 
his widow married Col. Hezekiah Wyllys. Another son, Jonathan, was governor 1798- 
1809 and a third son, John, was the artist and the personal friend of Washington. A 
fourth son, David, was father of Governor Joseph Trumbull, 1849. Dr. Benjamin 
Trumbull, state historian, was also a descendant of the Suffield Joseph. 


From the poem "McFingal" (1795) by John Trumbull of 

Hartford. Engraved by E. Tisdale, suggesting Old South 

Church, Boston. 


Joel Barlow (1754-1812), educated at both Dartmouth and 
Yale, admitted to the bar in Hartford in 1785, founder of the 
American Mercury, one of the vehicles for the Wits, and winning 
fame in Europe for his great work, the "Columbiad" (America's 
history in verse from discovery till the end of the war and after), 
but most popular through the generations for "Hasty Pudding," 
descriptive of the simplicity of New England life (published in 
Paris!), extolled by Jefferson in 1805, then dweller in magnifi- 
cence in Washington, minister to France in 1811 and dying in 
wretchedness in trying to answer the call for a conference sent 
him by Napoleon who was retreating from Moscow and whom 
Barlow condemned in his last breath, was counted among them 
till he left in 1788. 

Col. David Humphreys (1753-1818), born in Derby, the aid 
whom Washington sent to Congress with Cornwallis' surrendered 
colors and long and frequent guest at Mount Vernon, recipient of 
a sword from Congress for bravery at Yorktown, secretary of the 
French legation, member of the Assembly in 1786, and brigadier- 
general in the War of 1812, was another of the group. 

Theodore Dwight, Sr. (1764-1846), native of Northampton, 
Mass., was a later comer. He and his brother-in-law, Richard 
Alsop, Hartford bookseller, helped write the "Echo" series, in 
1791, in the Mercury four years after Barlow had resigned from 
that periodical. The publication continued till 1805, ending with 
a burlesque on Jefferson's inauguration. Dwight was congress- 
man in 1806 and secretary of the Hartford Convention in 1814. 
After that he conducted the New York Daily Advertiser. His 
hymn on Washington's death was widely printed. Doctors Mason 
F. Cogswell of Hartford and Elihu H. Smith of Wethersfield and 
Litchfield also contributed some lines to the "Echo." 

Dr. Lemuel Hopkins (Waterbury, 1750-Hartford, 1801), emi- 
nent as a surgeon, wrote much for the group's "Anarchiad" and 
the "Political Green House" as well as for the "Echo." When 
Ethan Allen spoke for infidelity, Hopkins replied : 

"All front he seems like wall of brass, 
And brays tremendous as an ass ; 
One hand is clenched to batter noses, 
While t'other scrawls 'gainst Paul and Moses." 


Of the many attacks by anti-federalists upon the Wits, the fol- 
lowing from a Philadelphia paper, in 1793, signed "Mirabeau," 
is a sample : 

''Hartford ! curst corner of the spacious earth ! 
Where each dire mischief ripens into birth * 
Hartford, detested more by faction's race 
Than hardened sinner hates the call of grace." 

The Hartford County Medical Society was established in 1792 
to assist in securing "incorporation of the faculty throughout the 
state." Dr. Elihu Tudor was chairman of the meeting. The Con- 
necticut Medical Society held its first meeting in Middletown the 
next month. Among its early members were: Dr. Mason F. 
Cogswell who in 1803 ligated the carotid artery for the first time 
in America and was influential in establishing the asylum for deaf 
mutes; Dr. Elihu Todd of the Retreat; John L. Comstock, writer 
of valuable scientific works; William Tully, "most learned and 
scientific physician in New England;" Amariah Brigham, super- 
intendent of the Retreat 1840-42 and afterwards of the asylum 
in Utica, N. Y. ; Dr. Archibald Welch of Wethersfield and Hart- 
ford, prominent in the early days of life insurance as medical 
director of the American Temperance Life, the present Phoenix 
Mutual Life Insurance Company, who was killed in a railroad 
accident in 1853; Dr. Samuel B. Beresford, educated in Edin- 
burgh and London, with his father, Dr. James Beresford, who 
also was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in London ; 
Dr. George B. Hawley, founder of the Hartford Hospital and its 
leading spirit till his death in 1863; Dr. Charles W. Chamberlain, 
authority on public hygiene, who assisted in establishing the State 
Board of Health of which he was first secretary, and a long list 
of surgeons in the Civil war. Also there was the Hopkins Medi- 
ical Society, 1826-1844, named after Doctor Hopkins. The Hart- 
ford Medical Society was established August 27, 1846. 

The first homeopath to practice in the county was Dr. Gus- 
tavus M. Taft who came to Hartford in 1842. He gave his life in 
the battle against yellow fever in New Orleans in 1847. His 
brother, Dr. C. A. Taft, became a partner with Dr. P. S. Starr. 
The society of these practitioners was founded by Dr. John Schue 
of Hartford and others in 1851. It became the Connecticut 

1 1 


BUm8msti&' ^^E^i^L. jf^Ukml 

IH^L ^ f 

pH ja§^ M 



(From the engraving by A. B. Durand afler the painting by 

Waldo & .lewett) 




President of Yale College, 1795-1817 


Homeopathic Medical Society. Doctors Gardner S. Browne and 
James D. Johnson were presidents of the state association. Dr. 0. 
B. Freeman introduced homeopathy in Collinsville and George P. 
Cooley in Bristol. 

Smallpox at times threatened to be as much of a scourge as it 
had been among the Indians. The doctors of the county fought it 
bravely. In 1797 Dr. Eliakim Elmer of Hartford was given right 
to build a hospital and practice inoculation. Previously, in 1792, 
Dr. Daniel Butler, Dr. Eliakim Fish and Dr. Lemuel Hopkins had 
been practicing inoculation under direction of the selectmen, and 
Starr Chester had taken the house of Col. Samuel Talcott in West 
Hartford for like purpose. 

The period following the war and on into the next century saw 
a great increase in the number of capable lawyers. The Superior 
Court which had been first colonial and then the State Court be- 
came the County Court in 1798, with from three to five judges 
till 1819 when only one presided. Of the fifty-eight judges in that 
period seventeen were from this county and of them three were 
promoted to the Supreme Court. They were Stephen Mix Mitchell 
of Wethersfield, John Trumbull of Hartford, John T. Peters of 
Hartford. Of the nineteen chief judges of the Superior Court, 
five were from the county — Judge Mitchell, William Pitkin, Jr., 
of Hartford, Jesse Root of Hartford and Coventry (after whom 
General Grant's father was named ; colonel in the militia and cap- 
tain of volunteers in 1777; member of the Legislature and mem- 
ber of Congress; again member of the Legislature and member 
of the Constitutional Convention of 1818; one who had fitted for 
the ministry and had decided he was unfit for it because he smiled 
when he saw a mouse in church) ; Governor Roger Wolcott, Sr., 
and Governor William Pitkin, 3d, of Hartford. 

The Supreme Court of Errors was created in 1784. Till 1806 
it consisted of the governor and lieutenant-governor and the 
twelve assistants. Of the total of thirty-nine such ex officio 
judges, eleven were from this county, namely, Governor William 
Pitkin, 4th, East Hartford; Governor Oliver Wolcott, Sr., East 
Windsor and Litchfield ; Governor Oliver Ellsworth, Sr., Windsor; 
Gen. Erastus Wolcott, East Windsor ; Governor John Treadwell, 
Farmington; Col. John Chester, 4th, Wethersfield; Gen. Roger 
Newberry, Windsor; Col. Thomas Seymour, 4th, Hartford; Col. 


Jeremiah Wadswoth, Hartford ; Jonathan Brace, Glastonbury and 
Hartford ; Lieutenant-Governor Chauncey Goodrich, Durham and 
Hartford. Between 1807 and 1855, four of the twenty-four Su- 
perior Court judges who were ex officio of the higher court when 
sitting in banc were from this county — Judge Mitchell, John 
Trumbull, Hartford; John T. Peters, Hebron and Hartford; 
Thomas Scott Williams, Wethersfield and Hartford, Mitchell and 
Williams becoming chief judges. Beginning in 1855 Supreme 
Court judges have been commissioned as such. The earlier ones 
from this county — those after 1880 being named in their appro- 
priate periods — were Governor William Wolcott Ellsworth, Wind- 
sor and Hartford; Chief Justice William L. Storrs, Middletown 
and Hartford; Thomas B. Butler, Wethersfield; Dwight W. Par- 
dee, Bristol and Hartford, and Elisha Carpenter, Ashford and 
Hartford. In this earlier period, nineteen of the seventy-nine 
judges of the Supreme Court were from this county, and of the 
seventeen chief judges, seven. 

The list of prosecuting officers bears many distinguished 
names. Through the earlier period and from the beginning they 
are such as: William Pitkin, 1st, Richard Edwards, Jesse Root, 
John Trumbull, Thomas Y. Seymour, Isaac Toucey (governor 
and, under Buchanan, secretary of the navy), Thomas C. Per- 
kins (of the Pitkin family and recognized head of the bar), Gov- 
ernor Richard D. Hubbard, Horace Cornwall and William 

The Hartford County Bar Association was founded Novem- 
ber 14, 1783. Among the lawyers of special note prior to 1800 
and not mentioned in the preceding paragraphs were: Samuel 
Pettibone of Simsbury, Capt. Thomas Seymour, 3rd (father of 
Mayor Thomas Seymour, 4th), of Hartford, Bildad Phelps of 
Windsor, Silas Deane of Wethersfield, Gideon Granger, Sr., of 
Suffield, Maj. William Judd of Farmington, Gen. Roger New- 
berry, Jr., of Windsor, Tapping Reeve (founder of the celebrated 
Litchfield Law School) of Hartford, Capt. Daniel Humphrey of 
Simsbury, Alexander Wolcott, Jr. (founder of Jeffersonian school 
of politics in Connecticut) of Windsor, Noah Webster (the lexi- 
cographer) of Hartford, Gen. Samuel H. Parsons (who helped 
form Middlesex County) of Middletown, Ephraim Root of Hart- 
ford, Joel Barlow of Hartford, Gideon Granger, Jr. (postmaster 
general, 1801-1814) of Suffield, Gen. Nathaniel Terry (judge of 


Superior Court) of Enfield and Hartford, Gaylord Griswold of 
Windsor, Decius Wadsworth of Farmington, Hezekiah Hunting- 
ton of Hartford, Theodore Dwight, Jr., of Hartford, Timothy 
Pitkin, Jr., of Farmington, and Hezekiah Bissell, Jr. (judge of 
Superior Court), of Windsor and Hartford. 

At the beginning of the 1800 period the number greatly in- 
creased. It continued to be that a large percentage were from 
the towns around the city. Again omitting the names previously 
mentioned, the more prominent of those admitted to practice in- 
cluded: Thomas Day (revisor of statutes, fifty years Supreme 
Court reporter, chief judge of county court and many years secre- 
tary of the state) of Hartford, Walter Mitchell (chief judge of 
County Court) of Wethersfield and Hartford, Joseph Trumbull, 
Jr. (grandson of the war governor, president of the Hartford 
Bank, congressman, governor in 1849) of Hartford, Samuel P. 
Waldo (writer of biographical volumes) of East Windsor, Elisha 
Phelps (congressman and judge of County Court) of Simsbury 
and Hartford, William Dixon (congressman and judge of County 
Court, father of Senator James Dixon) of Enfield, Martin Welles 
(son of Gen. Roger Welles, speaker of the House, chief judge of 
County Court) of Farmington and Hartford, Noah A. Phelps 
(sheriff and also secretary of the state) of Simsbury, Lorrain T. 
Pease (judge of County Court) of Enfield, Ethan Allen Andrews 
(author of Latin lexicon bearing his name) of New Britain, 
Henry L. Ellsworth (son of the chief justice, twin of Governor 
Ellsworth, commissioner of Indians in Jackson's administration 
and for ten years patent commissioner) of Windsor, John M. 
Niles (active in politics and newspaper work) of Hartford, Sam- 
uel H. Huntington (judge of County Court) of Hartford, Wil- 
liam Hungerford (one of the most learned) of Hartford, Royal 
R. Hinman (secretary of the state and compiler of history) of 
Southington and Hartford, James Dixon (congressman, senator 
and writer) of Enfield and Hartford, John Brocklesby, Jr. (pro- 
fessor and acting president at Trinity) of Hartford, Thomas M. 
Day (editor of the Courant) of Hartford, Aholiab Johnson (re- 
porter of the Supreme Court) of Enfield, Henry Howard Brown- 
ell (Admiral Farragut's secretary and writer of the famous 
"War Lyrics") of East Hartford, Lucius F. Robinson (student 
of Greek, Latin and Hebrew classics, brother of Henry C. Robin- 
is— vol. i 


son) of Hartford, and Col. Henry C. Deming (scholar, orator, sol- 
dier, mayor) of Hartford. 

The play had not been "the thing" in the New England colo- 
nies till long after the war, and then those who did glance in its 
direction were classed among skeptics, revellers and others of low 
morals against whom the church people were compelled to lift 
their standards. So when a group of Yale students studying in 
Glastonbury, in 1778, prepared for a theatrical production, the 
county was scandalized. Glastonbury authorities quickly put a 
veto on it, but by some collegiate hook or crook the boys did get 
the right to appear at the very State House itself. This along in 
the May vacation. The play, which they had written themselves, 
was based on Revolutionary war incidents. It cost £60 to stage 
the performance. They held up the mirror to nature faithfully — 
according to their lights — in such characters as Burgoyne, an arch 
enemy, and Prescott of Bunker Hill, a demi-god. We can gather, 
however, from a printed communication from a lady who went, 
or heard said, that the mirror may have been somewhat too faith- 
ful as she bewailed the profane language put in the mouth of Pres- 
cott — this to say nothing of the defiance of law in utilizing wom- 
en's apparel. 

Altogether, then, there were no more undertakings of this sort 
till 1794 when Hallam & Henry, an outside combination which 
was working for the erection of playhouses in the leading cities, 
got Ephraim Root to erect a theater on the north side of Temple 
Street, known then as Bachelor or, after the dedication, Theater 
Street. The structure was about 500 feet from Main Street. 
Several prominent men bought some of the sixty shares of the 
company's stock, the rest being held by members of the troupe, 
which included Mrs. Frances Hodgkinson of New York, wife of 
the leading man and playwright. It was an English company of 
players. The advertisement asked patrons to go out only "by the 
doors," for the sake of example and to preserve tranquillity. The 
repertoire included plays like "She Stoops to Conquer." Edito- 
rially the Courant requested the management to bar the indecent 
and irreligious or else submit the plays to a committee of "liter- 
ary gentlemen," possibly like the Hartford Wits. At the after- 
noon performances, "young gentlemen up to twelve and young 
ladies up to fifteen" were admitted at half price. For the even- 


ing performance, the curtain rose at half-past five. Perform- 
ances were mostly in the summer. The second season, in the cast 
and as scene painter was Joseph Jefferson, grandfather of the 
"Rip Van Winkle" Joe. The Governor's Foot Guard, with star- 
tling scenic effects, put on a drill in one of the plays in 1797. 
The management was highly laudatory of the town but could not 
conceal its surprise that the ladies would not buy seats in the pit 
as they did in other towns. 

What evidently was the best era of the stage for those days 
was brought to a close by a legislative act in 1800 prohibiting all 
theatrical representations. The theater never was used again 
except for the assemblages of Rev. Dr. Joel Hawes' parishioners 
while the new First Church was being built. Fourth of July had 
been and continued the chief day of entertainment, the Order of 
the Cincinnati and other societies holding exercises in the morn- 
ing and all assembling at the churches in the afternoon where dis- 
tinguished speakers were heard. 

Dancing was approved by the clergy and greatly encouraged 
by popular masters. Anne Wolcott, according to "Wolcott's Me- 
morials," wrote to her brother at Yale that while he was "poring 
over some antiquated subject," she had been dancing all the fore- 
noon and would be dancing again in the evening. "Assemblies" 
became the special feature of social life. For many years all the 
prominent people were subscribers. An especially notable one 
was held the week after Washington's death when the ladies were 
requested to wear white trimmed with black and the gentlemen a 
crepe insignia on the arm. At the inns and taverns where the 
assemblies were held wine was served freely with the suppers. 
These pleasures were maintained, in common with the Election 
Day ball, for many years except for interruption through scarcity 
of money during the period of the War of 1812 and also when 
there was a revival at the First Church. 

A great attraction in 1805 was Steward's Museum in the new 
State House. Previously the only exhibitions of wax-work and 
the like had been held at private houses, and in 1799 there had 
been a circus on the Commons, or South Green, now Barnard 
Park. Steward's moved in 1809 to a building opposite the Epis- 
copal Church and in 1824, as seen in the picture of State House 
Square, it was established in the conspicuous building on the cor- 
ner of Main Street and Central Row where now towers the build- 


ing of the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company. Travelers 
were invited to bring contributions to the collections. For many- 
years it was the only place of entertainment in the town. 

There were few evidences of poverty. The property the Legis- 
lature had permitted the town to buy for an almshouse in 1785, 
opposite the present North Cemetery, had been sold at auction in 
1797 to Ashbel Spencer. At the approach of the War of 1812, 
however, matters were somewhat different. After various work- 
house experiences, wholly inharmonious with the idea of alms, 
that same place was leased in 1811 and was maintained till 1822 
when for $5,000 the Kelsey farm on present Sigourney Street was 
bought, well utilized with buildings and cultivated fields, a hos- 
pital added, and the "Town Farm" continued till the surrounding- 
land was needed for residences and a park when the property was 
disposed of and the present almshouse was built in the last quar- 
ter of the century. 

In the matter of cemeteries there were periods of uncertainty. 
As has been seen, the first specially designated burying ground, 
near the First Church, had been encroached upon, first by the 
church itself and then by other buildings and had been neglected. 
The vote in 1785 to sell off lots along the street to raise money for 
a new cemetery appears not to have yielded a new place for pub- 
lic interments. In 1800 "Old South Yard," on Maple Avenue, was 
bought for the use of the two churches. But in 1806 it was again 
voted to sell land near the old cemetery and the following year the 
land for the present North Cemetery on Windsor Avenue was 
bought of Hezekiah Bull and opened for public use. There were 
few burials in the Ancient Cemetery after that. The burial of 
Town Clerk William Whitman in 1836 was the last till that of 
Mrs. John M. Holcombe, as told in the story of recent times. 
A monument was erected in 1836 by the Ancient Burying Ground 
Association in memory of the first settlers, and later a memorial 
by the First Company, Governor's Foot Guard. In 1843, Zion 
Hill, another public cemetery, was opened. Cedar Hill, on Fair- 
field Avenue was established by a private corporation in 1866, 
and Spring Grove adjoining the North Cemetery. The first 
hearse was built and maintained for the town in 1800. 

A Hooker item which has aroused discussion concerning the 
priority of colonial churches may here be set forth. Was the 


Hooker church or the Warham church in Windsor literally the 
first church in the colony? The account of the settlements of the 
two towns, as given in the early pages, is by the accepted records. 
The Dorchester party arrived in the Bay Colony in May, 1632. 
Rev. John Warham was one of their spiritual leaders. The 
"Hooker Company" arrived in September, 1632. Mr. Hooker ar- 
rived the next year and he and Mr. Stone were inducted into office 
in October. Mr. Warham accompanied members of his church 
to Windsor in 1635, leaving his colleague with some of the mem- 
bers behind. Mr. Hooker and his followers joined his advance 
party at present Hartford in 1636. None was making history 
with thought of priority. Mr. Warham's became the First 
Church in Windsor; Mr. Hooker's the First Church of Christ in 

Mr. Hooker died July 7, 1647. The wife of Governor John 
Winthrop the younger died in 1672 and was buried "just beyond 
the south side of Mr. Stone's monument, within three or four 
feet." Letters show that in 1683 her son Fitz John Winthrop 
was corresponding with James Stancliff relative to a stone to 
mark her grave and that Stancliff inquired what to inscribe on it. 
On the back of his letter is an acknowledgment bearing date of 
November in that year of £4, 8 shillings from Wait Winthrop, 
with no specifications. After the death of Fitz John, the stone- 
cutter wrote Maj. Wait Still Winthrop (November, 1710), saying 
the slab was ready to deliver and asking about the pillars to sup- 
port it; he said he would finish setting the stone in the spring. 
Then ensued delay over the inscription. Major Winthrop died 
in 1717. His son John in that same month received a letter from 
William Stancliff saying he expected to set the slab the next 
spring. This grandson of Mrs. Winthrop never had lived in Hart- 
ford and took no particular interest. He died in England in 1747. 
Doubtless it passed out of his mind that Mrs. Winthrop w T as bur- 
ied here. In 1772, the body of Rev. Edw^ard Dorr was buried 
just south of Mr. Stone's, not more than three feet between 
them. This was the location of Mrs. Winthrop's grave as re- 
vealed by the letter of her son to the stone-cutter, found many 
years later. 

In 1817, on suggestion of Seth Terry, the First Church Society 
voted to look into the condition of monuments erected in memory 
of the ministers. In 1807 the present edifice had been built on 


these grounds, setting further back from the street than had the 
first one. There was still considerable space between the rear of 
it and the grave of Mr. Stone. Mr. Hooker's grave was presumed 
to be just north of Mr. Stone's; that is, Mr. Stone's on his left. 
The location of Mrs. Hooker's could not be surmised and in 1817 
there was no knowledge of the incidents connected with Mrs. John 
Winthrop's. An uninscribed slab with pillars was found near the 
Stone monument or table. They were set up on the north side of 
Mr. Stone's, with this inscription under the direction of Mr. 
Terry : 

In Memory of the Rev. Thomas Hooker Who in 
1636 With His Assistant, Mr. Stone, Removed 
to Hartford With About 100 Persons When He 
Planted Ye First Church in Connecticut. An 
Eloquent, Able and Faithful Minister of 
Christ. He Died July 7, 1647, JEt LXI. 

It is possible that the expression "First Church in Connecti- 
cut" was accidental ; it is also possible that then as in later years, 
the word "First" had been stretched in the public mind, familiar 
with Hooker's greatness and the first written constitution, to in- 
clude the whole colony, but Rev. Dr. Hawes and Rev. Dr. Walker 
long after him gave evidence of their knowledge of history. 




The gambrel-roof State House, with its burned-off cupola, 
had become unworthy and inadequate. Heeding the complaints, 
the Legislature in May, 1792, appointed a committee to superin- 
tend the building of a new one. It voted £1,500 on condition Hart- 
ford raise a like amount, within a year, and subscriptions were 
called for, payable to the committee, John Chester, Noadiah 
Hooker, John Trumbull, John Caldwell and John Morgan. Of 
this state committee, Col. John Trumbull, the artist, being in 
Hartford in September, wrote his friend Oliver Wolcott, then 
comptroller of the United States treasury, saying that he and 
Colonel Chester (of Wethersfield) and the rest of the committee 
were desirous of having "an elegant and durable building," after 
a design by Mr. Bulfinch "worth executing in the best material. ,, 
Middletown brownstone had been favored by the committee but 
the colonel believed Philadelphia marble would be better if not too 
expensive, and he asked for prices on cornice, column, pilaster, 
pedestal, entablature and window blocks and for the cost of good 
workmen. When only twenty-four had subscribed from $25 up 
to $500, the Legislature authorized a lottery to raise £5,000 for 
the completion of the structure. Lotteries were becoming unpop- 
ular, this lottery failed, but the committee was undaunted. Gen. 
Andrew Ward of Guilford and Jeremiah Halsey of Norwich 
agreed to furnish the building, the state to guarantee them by 
conveyance of a deed to the "Gore Lands," the proceeds of the 
sale to be divided with the state. 

Governor Huntington signed the paper July 25, 1795. The 
Connecticut Gore Land Company was formed and forthwith 
opened for business. The story of the gore land dates back to the 



charter grant and the Massachusetts boundary war. The Ply- 
mouth Company in 1628 sold the Bay Colony's association all of 
New England to the Pacific. Connecticut's part came to be con- 
sidered, by her charter, to be bounded on the north by Massa- 
chusetts. Between the Massachusetts survey and that of Con- 
necticut there was a strip lying between forty-one degrees 
and fifty-five minutes north latitude and forty-two degrees, or 
two and one-third miles in a strip running from the western 
boundary of New York, as assented to, a distance of 245 miles, 
all in accord with the state's cession of its western territory, its 
loss of Wyoming and its receiving the Western Reserve when 
making its cession. Business for Ward and Halsey had started 
briskly when New York raised objections in court, and lost. The 
decisions of the courts, however, were nullified in the final dis- 
cussion with the government relative to the territory of the West- 
ern Reserve. By 1804 the Gore Land Company was ruined. 
Nevertheless the State House had been built, and Ward and Hal- 
sey were reimbursed with an appropriation totaling $40,000, 
over a period from 1805 to 1808. General Moses Cleaveland of 
Canterbury, as agent for Oliver Phelps of Windsor and the others 
who had bought the Reserve lands, had bought of the Indians, 
for $1,200 worth of goods, and had established New Connecticut 
and his city of Cleveland. 

Connecticut possessed what was considered the handsomest 
building in the United States. It had cost $52,480, of which at 
time of completion $3,500 represented Hartford's subscription, 
$1,500 the county subscriptions and $35,000 that of Ward and 
Halsey, repaid. The Legislature held its first session there in 
May, 1796. 

Charles Bulfinch of Boston had designed private houses and 
thereby had acquired some fame at the time Colonel Trumbull 
wrote General Wolcott that he was preparing the design for this 
State House. In 1887 he had made plans for the Massachusetts 
State House and he was to design the Capitol at Washington and 
other famous buildings, but this was the first of his public build- 
ings. Because nothing could be found in his writings about the 
Hartford building, there was doubt for a time in the last century 
whether it was his work, but with the discovery of this letter of 
Trumbull's, of drawings among Bulfinch's papers and compari- 
sons by experts, the evidence was considered complete before 

(From rare China plate in collection of Morgan B. Brainard) 


Charles A. Place in 1925 published his book on the architect. 
Brownstone had to be substituted for the marble finally for the 
lower part of the building and the trimmings, with brick for the 
upper courses. In the background of a portrait of Colonel Halsey 
in the Connecticut Historical Society's collection and on an ex- 
ceedingly rare English plate in the collection of Morgan B. Brain- 
ard here reproduced, the structure can be seen as it looked when 
occupied. The roof balustrade was added in 1815 and the cupola, 
surmounted by the statue of Justice, in 1822 when the city gave 
the bell, "but both," according to Mr. Place, "were doubtless in 
the original design" since they are characteristic of Bulfinch's 
style. "It is stated that the cupola is copied from the one on the 
New York City Hall and, though the lines are good, they are not 
those of Bulfinch." 

The size of the structure is 50x100 feet with porticos on both 
the east and west sides. That on the east, marking the main en- 
trance, had an especially beautiful and classic effect with its pil- 
lars. The balcony commanded a broad view down State Street 
to the river. On either side were residence sections, shaded by 
trees and surrounded by wide grounds. In the foreground, 
taking in the rest of the old Meeting-house Yard, was a green 
which was to become a park with a fountain in the center of it, 
altogether to be widely reproduced in engravings and on the 
doors of the more elaborate clocks which vied with chinaware in 
being the particular items of vertu. How State House and park 
were submerged in the rush of business and then saved by Hart- 
ford spirit is a story in itself, to add interest to a later page. The 
rush began to be felt in 1870 ; business had centered westward, 
and after the new Capitol was built and the State House became 
City Hall in 1880, Justice turned her face westward and the 
park was a backyard. 

The earlier State House — or "Court House" as it had come 
to be called — was moved to the rear of Christ Church when the 
Bulfinch structure was begun. For many years it was a tene- 
ment house, then George J. Patten's schoolhouse and afterwards 
Charles Hosmer's print shop, a church for the Methodists, a car- 
riage factory and, with power furnished by a horse in the cellar, 
William Loomis' saddlery. Christ Church parish bought it in 
1833 and sold a part of it which was removed to Pearl Street 
where, on the rear of the lot on which the Southern New England 


Telephone Company began its large buildings in 1910, it was 
occupied as a paint shop by Robert Walker and later by Pres- 
ton & Kenyon. 

Country and county were picking up after the war, but the 
first bank no more than the State House was an evidence of pros- 
perity in the '90s; rather they both were evidence of the same 
pure grit and devotion that had led their ancestors to come with 
Hooker to Hartford. Alexander Hamilton was educating the 
people to see that without currency and financial stability the 
United States could not go on. Getting Congress to incorporate 
the Bank of North America in 1781 was a notable patriotic 
achievement. Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth was the largest sub- 
scriber and a year after the Bank of New York was organized, 
or in 1785, he was elected president on the advice of Hamilton. 
Also he was a director in the United States Bank. Good results 
despite croakings and threats of the political opposition led him 
to believe that Hartford, like Boston and Providence, should at 
once have such an institution, and his old-time associates here 
agreed with him. Their names are already familiar in this his- 
tory. They met at David Bull's tavern on the evening of Febru- 
ary 27, 1792, and voted to petition the Legislature for a charter, 
with a capital of $100,000 in 250 shares, and Maj. John Caldwell, 
Barnabas Deane and John Morgan were appointed the committee 
on subscriptions. 

Noah Webster, John Trumbull and Chauncey Goodrich pre- 
pared the petition after subscribers had advanced 5 per cent of 
the capital, and the charter was granted June 14. Oliver Ells- 
worth, presiding at the meeting, Wadsworth, Caldwell, Morgan, 
Deane, Timothy Burr, James Watson, Caleb Bull and Ephraim 
Root were elected directors and Caldwell was elected president 
after Wadsworth had declined the honor. Hezekiah Merrill, on 
a salary of $500, was made cashier. The first formal location 
was on the south side of Pearl Street, near Main, where a vault 
was dug in the ground for the resting place of a safe Wadsworth 
had secured in New York, access to which was through a trap 
door. Entrance from the street was gained only through a double 
door iron-sheathed and iron-barred. The bank's classic building 
on State Street, to be its home for the better part of a century, 
was not erected till 1811, the second of its only four locations. 
At a time when there had to be recourse to barter, and credit was 

As originally when it fronted east. Post Office now on this park 

Captured German gun temporarily placed on front walk 


a thing of tissue, the bank created a confidence which was the be- 
ginning of the Hartford as it exists today. One of its first regu- 
lations was that bills should be payable in dollars and cents, 
thereby introducing the decimal system in place of the cumber- 
some English method of calculation. In 1806 it made the mis- 
take of permitting unlimited subscriptions from religious soci- 
eties and school corporations for five years on equal terms with 
the state, so that such certificates could be surrendered at par or 
taken at par, whatever the value at the time, and the capital had 
been increased to $1,000,000. The handicap was not fully over- 
come till the bank nationalized in 1865. 

The history of the bank was to be one with the history of the 
city. Its stock is still held by descendants of the original holders, 
and the names of those holders are still prominent in Hartford 
affairs. Col. Francis Parsons, vice chairman in the present en- 
larged organization, is a grandson of Major Caldwell's second 
wife who was the widow of the brilliant young lawyer, William 

But another striking peculiarity the student of the old Con- 
stitution town finds, in addition to this of continuity of family 
so frequently remarked, is that of unity of interests in enter- 
prise and effort. Here at the inception of the modern Hartford, 
in the first days of independence under a federal Constitution so 
much like its own of 1639, one can make special note of this fact. 
The city long has been preeminently the world's City of Insur- 
ance. The first insurance and the first bank were closely allied ; 
increasing number of companies and increasing number of banks 
have continued so, in personnel and activities — mutually helpful, 
always watchful for the good name of Hartford. 

Great were the natural risks in the large shipping business. 
After the manner of the ancient Greeks, a group of substantial 
men would write their names (be "underwriters") under an 
agreement to cover losses; if the voyage were successful, they 
would share in the profits. Peleg Sanford, private secretary of 
Colonel Wadsworth, was one of the more active in securing these 
underwriters. By 1794 he thought to apply the principle to land 
property and Colonel Wadsworth's only son Daniel became asso- 


ciated with him, providing for the purpose printed forms. No. 2 
of these policies, February 8, 1794, is in the possession of the 
Hartford Fire Insurance Company. It insured the house of 
William Imlay against fire or tempest for one half of 1 per cent 
for one year ; no proofs were required ; no loss would be paid not 
exceeding 5 per cent; salvage would be allowed for and expense 
thereof would be paid on the insured's personal affidavit. March 
10, 1794, Sanford & Wadsworth's first advertisement appeared 
in the Courant. The following year Elias Shipman joined them 
in forming a marine "firm" named the "Hartford and New 
Haven Insurance Company." Colonel Wadsworth, Major Cald- 
well and John Morgan shared in this enterprise. Shipman re- 
tired after two years and set up his own office in New Haven 
with a company of which he was president for twenty-six years. 
Sanford following him, the Hartford firm was dissolved. The 
principle, however, was kept alive by Wadsworth and Caldwell, 
with Ezekiel Williams the active agent. In 1803 Caldwell and 
others organized a marine company under the Hartford name, 
which later became the Protection (1825-1854). 

At the May session of the Legislature in 1810 these leaders in 
Hartford with others from New Haven, Middletown and New 
London secured a perpetual charter for what is today the great 
Hartford Fire Insurance Company. As their institution was to 
stand not only for the good of the city but as a bulwark for the 
United States when general credit was threatened by great fires, 
the names of these founders are venerated today. Maj. Nathan- 
iel Terry, a native of Enfield, commander of the Foot Guard, in 
whose honor the title had been changed to major, legislator, con- 
gressman, judge of the County Court, member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention, president of the Hartford Bank from 1819 
to 1828, mayor for several years, and progenitor of Gen. Alfred 
H. Terry, was president. His wife was Colonel Wadsworth's 
daughter. The other directors were: David Watkinson who 
came from England in 1795, was a merchant, gave generously 
for the Hartford Hospital, founded the Watkinson Farm School, 
subscribed $100,000 for the Wadsworth Atheneum and -left the 
residue of his estate for the Watkinson Reference Library with 
$5,000 for enlargement; Thomas Glover and James H. Wells, 
leading merchants; Nathaniel Patten, printer; Henry Hudson, 
son of Barzillai Hudson, one of the publishers of the Courant, 

0> C ** 

60 ■■- <U 

?! -C C 


x »« 

H « -o 

> § 

<U 0> -C 

3 "o J> 


-* *£ 

02 „. ?-< 

oj Si - — - 

~ to 


r* . 0) 

S3 to X 

o3 "O +-> 

c« 2 

_ +» C 

■T3 w 

Sh h-» 

O fe C8 

-"-> 2 " 

£ C £8 



r=0 » 



o > 

ng; i 





^3 o o 


,3 -6 n 


M £ 13 



rt J3 o 

S- ft 


3 . to 

O &fl tS 


O C £ 


se, : 


^ o too 


of the 
tate H 



i — i 

to o .i; 


o g 


1— I 



£ ^ h 

~ cS 

b* g >H 

C S-. 

12 0) 

•o T3 10 

!S c 13 

3 CS ° 

■a — a 

£P M &0 

.5 a s 
c fa '-*-> 

Vi a> 

3 aj 

pq <u § 

!2 5 

• 'to _ 

® +, IS 

£2 to c 

oo J .— 

-4J .. Sh 

3 ^ O 

° c „, 

< M 5 


interested in Hudson Brothers' paper mill in Manchester (Oak- 
land), and mayor in 1836-1840; Ward Woodbridge, drygoods 
importer and cotton manufacturer, president of the Hartford 
Bank, the third wealthiest man in the city, of a family of promi- 
nent men including his brother Deodatus who was the grand- 
father of Richard M. Bissell, the president of the company today; 
Daniel Buck of Wethersfield and Hartford, merchant and with 
his brother, Dudley Buck, proprietor of a line of steamboats to 
New York; and Thomas Kimberley Brace, Yale 1801, wholesale 
grocer, president of the Aetna Insurance Company in 1819, 
mayor in 1840-1843. Walter Mitchell was general counsel and 
secretary. He was the son of Chief Justice Stephen Mix Mitchell 
of Wethersfield. 

The office, which also was Mitchell's office, was fitted up at an 
expense of $21.25. The calf-bound record book in which the min- 
utes of the first meeting were written attests today the longsight- 
edness of these men for it has been used for the same purpose 
ever since then. The first investment was in Hartford Bank 
stock, fourteen shares at $400, leaving $9,400 in the treasury. 
Engaging no local agents at the outset, they did carry in the 
Courant the largest advertisement ever seen in its four pages, 
one-quarter of a page, headed by a picture of a large fire in a 
building near the Ferry Street dock. The first year's premium 
income was $3,000 and no losses; expenses, $530. The first two 
agents outside were appointed in 1810; the first outside the state, 
in 1811. They turned in little business; they were allowed in 
lieu of a commission the charge for the survey and 50 cents for 
each policy, which the insured paid. At the time of the expansion 
in 1820 Anson G. Phelps of New York, one of the country's fore- 
most philanthropists, established the company's office in that city. 
Timothy Dwight, son of the president of Yale, was the represent- 
ative of the company in New Haven. The first company the 
Hartford reinsured was the New Haven. 

There was no other bank till 1814 and no other insurance 
company till 1819. 

American conditions in 1814 — national, state and municipal 
— make one of the most fascinating chapters in the country's his- 
tory, as detailed in the "First Century of the Phoenix National 
Bank" (1914). Items of it are essential to a comprehension of 


the salvation from economic ruin of state and Union at that 
period. Briefly, bills of credit issued by so-called exchanges or 
banks, of which Hartford had two or three, had been a last re- 
sort in the financial distress since the beginning of the French- 
Indian wars. Such issues having been prohibited by the federal 
Constitution and currency rapidly diminishing, Congress char- 
tered the Bank of the United States in 1791, and its bills became 
"regulators." When that charter expired in 1811, state banks 
created a political contest over the power of Congress and over 
alleged foreign control, with result that the charter was not re- 
newed. Its legitimate successor was not to come till 1816. 

Therefore when war actually was precipitated in 1812, the 
only dependence was on state banks serving only local communi- 
ties, and when they had suspended specie payment in 1814, there 
was chaos throughout the land. While the British were burning 
Washington, the only banks had been falling like reeds broken by 
the wind — but not the Hartford or the new Phoenix. The cer- 
tificates worthless, the government was obliged to default; there 
was rioting in many cities. Contrary to law, fractional notes 
were circulated from banks, signed by outsiders, and then directly 
from outsiders, till the Legislature permitted the small denomi- 
nations. Inflation raged independently in the various states. 
Banks had to carry a frequently corrected table of relative values 
of the little slips of paper, and even that proved inadequate in the 
fall of 1814. Outside of a few cities, people were dependent upon 
ridiculous barter and were warring with each other over perpe- 
tration of fraudulent measurements. 

At home here, although the bank was making much money on 
loans up-river, the keystone of actual prosperity had fallen with 
the ruin of foreign commerce. The Hartford Bank and its own 
courageous men were in dire straits. Caldwell had lost through 
the French spoliations, and Terry and others by the embargo 
and the war. Parallel tragedy in 1928 would be headlined: 
"Everything Wiped Out." 

And still another locally distressing feature was to develop 
when the bold petition for another bank was presented. In the 
mad struggle of people and institutions for mere existence, re- 
ligious principles got mixed with politics and banking — and hap- 
pily the way was being opened to put an end to that sort of thing 
constitutionally. As previously remarked, some minds have not 


First president of the Hartford Fire Insur- 
ance Company; Major, Governor's Foot 
Guards; a leading member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention of 1818 

J" f l 

{Reduced Fac*simile of the \ 
Second Policy issued by f 
the Hartford Fire Ins. Co., f 
Februaiy 8, 1794. J 





er*kaiUi it atrj <on-rra, »f.<" T upm!j, Fr.enri e Fw.dM* «ik* ACiriE-rf ( 

7'.nA ill Hit :f - wVirh en Aueoot of Tire nxj rupee*. 

bc-M^Vi of ind not • Sought of, tavku 

*nd •olutut^ljf the L- <d 

And the AJTurt- ', ot whom ii (., it 

bwibj pn-mjtpu/it>gill» u 

1 and faufj, vnl»n (he lp*<eof »hiw Mortfcu if'er the 
u(, ids no DedvfLoe, 10 it mice hen, .he Sum atfund 


•10 twr-jid. AndiQOfccf Jp^lL^sillJiii Dullbefcjod tube fc»«l»wJ pruned. ttiUbrJ(<).>a«'\ 
■iter ite IX.ifu.ri of it* Cbjfgetf >■>.' 'or ibrfj*ii>( jnd pteJemng ; «nd <co""iirg *hkh iU AiJuied flail be 
M^id ik Ku Ouii. ir>ihoui our • Hedging „aj :, "''H »riinrt Ii. Aj-.J fo « mc Alureri »re ' ootcsted, ■Dd 
1)1 pielcnt j od iu (j»f , ifnij'.urmj; til Cix'i md [ ueuioni conim j 10 tJieie TVr- 
or the true Prriotmiou o/tht PicraJci, (be Con/derauon due unto iu rot ihit ACortaca bj ibx Ai- 

fcud Ourfel 

iff r>uiiT«f£ill DJIeftncei to nto Perfon:, Oec iobeNMdn>f i)i( .f^.Jooi ofTriMtie. V» 
tuziedbj i'-e AJTu/ e.t.erwy the AiTuret 01 AfTuPin, out o/l bi« lobe turned t? ibe Aimed, -bo (till 

rii»efMliro4tTtti idjtl the fune , but Jinft Ihry onnol igrrr, iha. f»U> l%0 Peitaoi Oujl t0*ek» TbuJ, 
•/id iD J T»o cf tbem ijtcejng, (ball be obligatory tu both [*utie>. 

IN !£££££ SS ffHtHtOr. We lie AT^exibire fuifeifted cu> Nimu end Sue* iffmed A 

f * - p »j <r I <&&&c+*s>-Y One Tboufind Seteo HhCdjtd IE if 



yet discerned that Episcopalianism and toryism were not synony- 
mous. In the earlier fashion of thought, the Hartford Bank was 
"Congregational" — orthodox — even though among its directors 
were pronounced Episcopalians ; among the promoters of the new 
bank were Episcopalians like Sigourney, Congregationalists like 
Russell Bunce. Now in those days, and for long after, it was the 
custom that concerns getting charters could be obliged to provide 
a bonus for specified industrial or public institutions; it certainly 
helped oil the wheels of legislation and supposedly aided general 
advancement. (The walks and fence around the State House 
were paid for in that way on the granting of a charter to the 
Manufacturers Bank in 1834, and coincidentally liberal sums 
went to silk companies, a sort of subsidy, when the silk craze was 
on.) Episcopalians were thinking of starting a college and like- 
wise of the needs of the Bishop's Fund ; Congregationalists heard 
the cry of Yale for a medical institute, and the legislative lobby 
was to hear of a Litchfield bank plan. 

The petition for the "Bank of Connecticut" with $1,500,000 
capital, was drawn by Charles Sigourney, and he, Samuel Tudor 
and Ward Woodbridge were the committee to get signatures. 
The petition argued that it was better to form a new bank than 
to enlarge one whose capital was overgrown and whose influence 
was accumulating! Hartford had other resources than foreign 
commerce, namely industry and inland trade, and commerce it- 
self would revive. This was the prophetic view at the moment 
when the Courant was breaking its tradition by making a per- 
sonal appeal to the effect that holders of notes should keep them 
in circulation with faith in the real property of the now money- 
less promisors, and just before gold was to touch a 15 per cent 
premium. The state, financially worried, was laying a 2-cent 
tax; the city tax was 4 cents, on a list of $100,000. 

Sigourney's petition was fuel to the long-threatening religious 
"Toleration" flame. Before it would be considered by the upper 
house, it contained a provision for the branch in Litchfield whose 
two representatives became directors, and also a compromise 
bonus clause for unspecified sums for Yale and its institute and 
the Bishop's Fund, "or to be otherwise disposed of for the use of 
the state and for any purpose whatever which to your honors 
may seem best." So far as can be made out from the state rec- 
ords of those days of close figuring Yale eventually received 


$20,000 and the Hartford Bank a like amount in payment of 
old loans. Episcopal college or fund does not appear. However, 
the "Toleration Act" and the revised Constitution were not 
far off. 

(It may be noted that when the Government allowed $61,500 
in partial reimbursement for the state's expenses in the war, the 
Legislature distributed part of it thus: Bishop's Fund, $8,785; 
Baptists, $7,687; Methodists, $5,125; Yale, $8,785; Congrega- 
tionalists, $20,500. As commutation on the Phoenix Bank bonus 
in 1825, the state granted $7,064 for the Bishop's Fund.) 

The total of the bank bonus was $50,000 because the charter, 
in passage, provided for only $1,000,000 capital. Also it came 
through the flames with the appropriate name of Phoenix. 
Clauses in the charter that were to fester — similar to the amend- 
ment to the Hartford's charter — gave special stock privileges to 
the state and to charitable, school and religious organizations. 
Stock was quickly subscribed. Directors elected were Normand 
Knox, Ward Woodbridge, Samuel Tudor, Charles Sigourney, 
Daniel Buck, Thomas K. Brace, Moses T. Ryon, Jr., Jonathan W. 
Edwards, John Russ, David Watkinson and James H. Wells, the 
two last named being immediately succeeded by Michael Olcott 
and Russell Bunce. Knox, who was cashier at the Hartford, was 
chosen president; George Beach, to be the fourth president, like 
President Knox prominent in Christ Church, and founder of the 
Widows' Home, was chosen cashier. Ancestral land of Mr. Olcott 
across the way from the State House was bought and the first 
marble building in town was erected on the site which ever since 
has been the home of the bank, thrice rebuilt to meet increasing 
needs and still surmounted by the significant phoenix bird. 

These same men, of the type which has been established in 
this story of the Constitution Towns, looked into the principles 
of mutual savings banks which were beginning to appear in Eng- 
land and this country where there were but four all told. Forth- 
with they incorporated the Society for Savings and on June 9, 
1819, were organized with Daniel Wadsworth president, Elisha 
Colt treasurer, and James M. Goodwin secretary. Mr. Colt was 
state comptroller and his office in the State House was the bank's 
up to the expiration of his term of office, when he transferred it 
to his home at No. 10 Church Street, still doing business only 
Wednesday afternoons, for economy's sake. In 1834, after two 




other locations, a classic building was erected on Pratt Street 
after a design by Mr. Wadsworth. Increasing fast in popular- 
ity, it won the name of "Pratt Street Bank," by which it is still 
known to many, never having removed from that location but 
replacing one outgrown building by another till now the fourth, 
opened in 1927, is as classically beautiful in comparison with 
others as was the first one. Character of men and buildings has 
remained constant. The list of trustees and officers is like a roll 
of financial honor. The presidents since Wadsworth have been 
Ward Woodbridge, James B. Hosmer, Roland Mather, John Cald- 
well Parsons, Francis B. Cooley, Jonathan B. Bunce, Charles E. 
Gross and Charles P. Cooley. 

The second insurance company, the Aetna, which soon came 
to vie in size and strength with the best, dates from this same 
period. Its traditional origin has to do with the amount of time 
that Secretary Mitchell of the Hartford Fire spent at his home 
in Wethersfield or on the way there. Threats to form a new 
company were carried out. Yet the board of directors chosen 
June 15, 1819, is evidence that again it was men of forethought 
and conservatism who conceived the idea: Thomas K. Brace, 
Thomas Belden, Samuel Tudor, Jr., Henry Kilbourn, Eliphalet 
Averill, Henry Seymour, Griffin Stedman, Gaius Lyman, Judah 
Bliss, Caleb Pond, Nathaniel Bunce, Joseph Morgan, Jeremiah 
Brown, James M. Goodwin, Theodore Pease, Elisha Dodd and 
Charles Babcock — Mr. Brace the president and Isaac Perkins the 
secretary. Mr. Brace resigning because of financial embarrass- 
ment was succeeded for two years by Henry L. Ellsworth, twin 
brother of the governor, but was again elected after his own 
affairs had been arranged. Its first — and the country's first — 
reinsurance was that of the Middletown Fire the very first year. 
It was the first company to establish agencies in large centers 
and its experience in times of national stringency in the '20s and 
of serious fires around the country would have disheartened any 
but the bravest. The banks helped as they were to do on other 
occasions and with other companies. 

It remained for Joseph Morgan, an original director, to make 
a survey twenty years after incorporation, and thereby to place 
his name high among those of insurance pioneers. Taking in 
Chicago and New Orleans he covered 6,104 miles in ten weeks, 
and his average daily expense, all items carefully kept, was $3.29. 


He was succeeded as director by his son, Junius S., and he by his 
son, J. Pierpont, and he by his son, J. Pierpont, Jr., making this 
one of their formal connecting links with Hartford after they 
had become leaders in the world of finance. It was the first com- 
pany to issue a book of instructions to agents, the first to use a 
blank for proof of loss and the first to appreciate the value of out- 
line charts. 

There was one question of local enterprise on which these men 
of the early part of the century did not agree, and that was the 
toll bridge over the Connecticut. The ferry, as previously said, 
was sometimes a cause of complaint but it was encouraged by 
the state and it yielded revenue for the town. In 1804 John Mor- 
gan and others petitioned for the right to build a bridge and the 
town engaged Major Caldwell and Major Terry to oppose them. 
Morgan was tenacious and in 1809 the bridge was built, at a cost 
of $96,000. A New York syndicate held 250 of the 800 shares 
(forty of which Aaron Burr sold to Ward Woodbridge and Grif- 
fin Stedman in 1833 for $100 a share). Each share was assessed 
$135 for the construction but soon the bridge was paying a divi- 
dend of $9. Windsor was especially distressed because, despite 
a rude draw, here was a check on navigation northward, and first 
and last many devices were resorted to for purpose of demon- 
strating that the bridge interfered with natural rights. The flood 
of 1818 swept away much of the bridge and, with the ferry com- 
petition, the company would not rebuild till the ferry was sup- 
pressed; then it expended $125,000 on a six-arch bridge 974 feet 
long, the arches resting on stone piers. The suppression act was 
repealed by the Legislature in 1836 and the town provided a lit- 
eral horse-power boat, but only to experience another suppres- 
sion in 1841. The next year it was doing business again but 
only pending the decision of the courts, which was in favor of 
the bridge. The suit had been brought by East Hartford people 
who had set up the ferry and who had to pay $12,363 after the 
United States Supreme Court had sustained the decision of the 
lower courts. The causeways were built at an expense of 
$150,000. The beginning of the next volume of bridge history 
was in 1889. 

First president of the Aetna Insurance Company 

jiaipiipl] 1 a 



HARTFORD (1837-1867) 

ratinyjjj _few» 





There was no bridge over Little River west of Main Street 
except a foot bridge at the foot of Pearl Street and three small 
bridges on the roads to West Division. In 1827 a vote was passed 
for a bridge at the foot of Pearl Street ten feet above the water, 
made of a mast supported on piers, with boards nailed on it and 
steps leading up to it at each end. A board walk ran from the 
bridge to Imlay's Mill. The Ford Street bridge was built in 
1849 for $15,000 and the Front Street bridge in 1853 for $10,000. 






Altogether it is seen that Hartford's perseverance and genius 
were bringing it well through the difficulties of the times when 
in 1812 the second war with England came. No emphasis has 
been laid upon Hartford's loss through the depredations of Napo- 
leon's ships upon American commerce in his war with England, 
but many a man who was beginning to recoup after the century 
of wars had had to exercise the utmost personal and often un- 
accustomed exertion to prevent being financially sunk by "French 
spoliations." United States was still more or less a jest in 
European eyes, a playground for Frenchmen like Genet, a dis- 
united country, rioting. England, fighting Napoleon single- 
handed and distressed by desertions from her navy, thought to 
search American ships for seamen and then to impress English- 
tongued men who really were from America. Following the anti- 
federalist bent, President Jefferson, justly indignant, turned his 
wrath against England while the federalists, including New 
England, felt fully as much grievance toward the nation of Genet 
and his like. Jefferson's embargo seemed — but only seemed — to 
have affected New England much more than any other section; 
it was the last word in destruction for many enterprises. Eng- 
land's orders in council prohibiting transportation of goods in 
any but English bottoms was reminiscent of old days; but there 
were signs that England would quit her folly while Napoleon's 
France would not, when news came that war had been declared 
against England, the very day after England had repealed her 
orders. And this with Madison, of Virginia, in the presidential 
chair. Like most statesmen of the day, he was a pacifist and he 



had been deceived by Napoleon. His administration had de- 
stroyed such signs of national defense as had been left. Col. Wil- 
liam Hull of Derby, at Fort Detroit, was the first victim of such 
frightful inefficiency as that of Dearborn, in command of the 
Army of the North. 

Madison, whose marine imbroglio had been worse than Jef- 
ferson's, called for the militia. Governor Griswold of Connecti- 
cut replied with a transcript from the Constitution Madison had 
helped frame, relative to the power of Congress "to provide for 
calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, sup- 
press insurrections and repel invasions." It was a clause writ- 
ten out of experience with monarchical power. Moreover the 
troops were placed under the command of such officers as the 
Government should name, despite the Constitution and in face 
of such an example as Dearborn furnished. The Legislature 
backed Governor Griswold and his successor John Cotton Smith. 
Another item was that New England's coast most of all invited 
attack, but the Government could not find the troops or ships to 
send there. State troops were raised and were sent along the 
shore, chiefly to New London, to do duty that was obvious and to 
do it well enough to cause the British to retire ; but Congress had 
made no provision and there was no one to protect Essex when 
the enemy pushed his raid in April, 1814. Under the President's 
call for troops to be held in readiness that year, Washington was 
notified that Connecticut's quota of 3,720 was filled and while 
"in readiness" kept the enemy at bay. And she had been gener- 
ous with her money. 

"Peter Parley" (S. G. Goodrich) gives this description of one 
of companies leaving for Fort Griswold, Groton, where Admiral 
Hardy had driven Commodore Decatur and his captured prizes 
to find place of refuge up the Thames, where this company was 
to serve six weeks and where detachments of various Connecticut 
companies were to relieve each other with short tours of duty : 
"At 10 o'clock, we were mustered and began our march, 
all in our best trim : cocked hats, long-tailed blue coats with 
red facings, white pantaloons and shining cutlasses at our 
sides. Our glittering cannon moved along with the solem- 
nity of elephants. It was, in fact, a fine company, all young- 
men, and many from the best families in Hartford. Our 
captain, Johnson, was an eminent lawyer, of martial ap- 
pearance and great taste for military affairs. He after- 

20— VOL. 1 


ward rose to the rank of general. Moseley, the first lieuten- 
ant, was six feet four inches high — a young lawyer, nephew 
of Oliver Wolcott — and of high social and professional 
standing. Screamed the fife, rolled the drum — as we en- 
tered New London !" 
Massachusetts sent out the call for a meeting of leading men 
at Hartford December 14, 1815, "to devise, if practicable, means 
of security and defence which may be consistent with the preser- 
vation of our resources from total ruin, and adapted to our local 
situation, mutual relations and habits, and not repugnant to our 
obligations as members of the Union." The Legislature re- 
sponded heartily. There were only seven delegates from Con- 
necticut, all foremost men, and only one of them from Hartford, 
Chauncey Goodrich who, serving at the same time as mayor, had 
just ended his service in the United States Senate. The sessions 
in the State House were behind closed doors. Theodore Dwight 
was the secretary who later was to publish the details. There 
were to be recommendations to Congress but before the adjourned 
session could be held, peace had been declared. About a hundred 
men from the state had gone into the regular army. While the 
"Hartford Convention" was in session, a recruiting sergeant, 
with rattling drum, persisted in marching his detail around the 
State House calling for recruits. Materiel was placed in the 
Hartford Bank and the Governor's Foot Guard was under orders 
to respond to call should rioting break out. The people had their 
idea of the proceeding but were peaceful. 

These are facts from records and from outside writers of 
highest authority which have been omitted mistakenly from state 
and local histories. Massachusetts, with painful memory of old 
days of stolen rights, had teemed with bitter federalism. Just 
before he fell in the duel with Burr, Hamilton, leader of federal- 
ists, had been impelled to write Colonel Trumbull (in 1804) : 
"You are going to Boston. You will see the principal men there. 
Tell them from me, as my request, for God's sake, to cease these 
conversations and threatenings about a separation from the 
Union." Public opinion in the South, before 1814, had been 
formed that New England might lose her temper. Exaspera- 
tion had increased. When the Enforcement Act was passed in 
Jefferson's last term and Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, 2nd, in the 
last days of his long governorship (1809) received a request to 


send his militia officers to assist the Government in heading off 
every ship pointed toward the open sea and search it to learn 
whether it was trying to carry goods to any foreign port, the old 
war governor replied that, as he and the mass of the citizens of 
the state considered the Enforcement Act unconstitutional, he 
could not comply. And Senator John Quincy Adams of Massa- 
chusetts, who had swung from federalism and had voted for the 
ruinous embargo, wrote Jefferson that New England was plan- 
ning to nullify the embargo, perhaps secede and perhaps ally with 
England. It was then that Jefferson, who had conceived the 
embargo as an experimental alternative to war, put through the 
act which allowed commerce with all nations except England 
and France, and once more the shippers could take their chances 
on the high seas. Madison's subsequent course aroused even 
New York. 

Following are sentences from Woodrow Wilson's history: 

"France was doing much more to injure neutral trade 
than England was," (in 1812). 

"It was a natural but tragical accident that the war 
should be against England, not against France." 

"New England had contributed men and money to the 
war as the law required and her means permitted. Because 
she was wealthy and populous, she had, indeed, contributed 
more than the South and West, whose representatives in 
Congress had brought the war on despite her passionate pro- 

"The Hartford Convention was the end of the federalist 
party. But it had none the less been a very sinister sign of 
the times." 

As "Hartford Convention" it always must be known, but it 
was not Hartford's convention or Connecticut's, and it was not 
for secession; it was for that defence of New England which 
Madison deliberately had withdrawn, or for a proper portion of 
federal revenue if she must continue to provide her own defense. 

The war did much to bring the nation together and win the 
respect of Europe. Among the heroes of the navy which it cre- 
ated was Commodore Macdonough of Middletown whose appear- 
ance here in 1817 was greeted with a great popular demonstra- 
tion and the presentation by the citizens of a sword, now in the 
collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. 


As for the federal and anti-federal or republican-democrat 
parties, their lines were being obliterated early in the century; 
the old order changeth. With it all, the attitude toward the char- 
ter's form of civil government was changing, by degrees. Con- 
necticut, it will be recalled, unlike the other colonies, had not had 
to frame a constitution after separating from England ; the prin- 
ciples of the original Constitution, embodied in the charter of 
1662, had served well and had been used as a model elsewhere. 
Executive, legislative and judicial branches had not been recog- 
nized as distinct since the need for such recognition was to be 
demonstrated only in an absolutely independent nation. The 
early attempts to make party shibboleth out of the necessity to 
change old forms simply aroused animosities. When in 1804 
Abraham Bishop of New Haven came to Hartford and declared 
from the platform that there was no constitution and there was 
need of one to destroy federalism, he was reminded that not long 
before he had said Connecticut's form of government was the 
best in the world; and when he worked up a convention in New 
Haven, assembling delegates from ninety-seven towns, with Maj. 
William Judd of Farmington presiding, Mr. Judd and four other 
justices of the peace were removed from office by the Legislature 
for taking part in a seditious proceeding. Many of Bishop's own 
following were outspoken against them. 

In 1817, as has been seen in the bank case, sectarian com- 
plaint had added to the opposition against the existing order; also 
there had been painful illustration of the overriding of the judi- 
ciary by the Legislature, and the chief judge who had been over- 
ridden published a vindication that had a pronounced effect. The 
sects were getting more "toleration." Oliver Wolcott, an orig- 
inal federalist, back from his national duties, long a victim of 
"most flagitious devices of party malice," was an example of 
many former federalists who were working for obliteration of old 
party lines, who had disapproved of the Hartford (or Boston) 
Convention and who had supported the republican-democratic 
government in its home measures. Judge Jonathan Ingersoll of 
New Haven, senior trustee of the Bishop's Fund, was a federal- 
ist. On agreement that his church would give political support, 
he was named for lieutenant-governor on a ticket headed by Wol- 
cott, called the "American and Toleration." Ingersoll was elected 


in 1816 but Wolcott fell short that year, only, however, to win the 
next year over the incumbent, John Cotton Smith, strict federal- 
ist, Ingersoll receiving votes from both parties. In 1818, the vic- 
tory for the coalition and "toleration" party, back of Wolcott and 
Ingersoll, was complete, Legislature included. 

It was mainly on the point of independence of the judiciary 
that the resolution for a constitutional convention prevailed. 
Time and circumstances were auspicious. Election of delegates 
was held on the Fourth of July, and for the most part was non- 
partisan, in political, sectarian or any other sense. Hartford 
County's delegates were: Hartford, Dr. Sylvester Wells, Maj. 
Nathaniel Terry; Berlin, Samuel Hart, Samuel Norton; Bristol, 
Bryan Hooker; Burlington, Bliss Hart; Canton, Solomon Ever- 
est; East Hartford, Richard Pitkin, Samuel Pitkin; East Wind- 
sor, Charles Jenks; Enfield, Henry Terry, William Dixon; Farm- 
ington, Timothy Pitkin, John Treadwell; Glastenbury (as then 
spelled), Samuel Wells, David E. Hubbard; Granby, Sadoc Wil- 
cox, Reuben Barker; Hartland, Aaron Church, John Treat; Marl- 
borough, Elisha Buell; Simsbury, Elisha Phelps, Jonathan Petti- 
bone, Jr. ; Southington, Roger Whittlesey, Chester Grannis ; Suf- 
field, Christopher Jones, Ashael Morse; Wethersfield, Stephen 
Mix Mitchell, Levi Lusk; Windsor, Eliakim Marshall, Josiah 

The veteran Jesse Root called the convention to order. Gov- 
ernor Wolcott was chairman. Members of Hartford County on 
the draft committee were Doctor Wells, Timothy Pitkin and 
Elisha Phelps. Major Terry of Hartford and Governor Tread- 
well of Farmington divided the leadership of the federalists. Gen. 
Levi Lusk of Wethersfield, Rev. Aaron Church of Hartland and 
Henry Terry of Enfield were federalist supporters of the old 
regime. Of the special exhorters on the other side was Rev. 
Ashael Morse (Baptist) of Suffield. Several standard bearers 
for constitution and reform through the three weeks were from 
the federal ranks; in the vote for ratification they were more 
earnest, like Major Terry, than their somewhat disappointed fel- 
low members. The ratification vote was 13,918 to 12,364; Hart- 
ford County, 2,234 yeas, 2,843 nays. This Constitution, with 
few changes, is the Constitution today. 


Not alone in politics and literature and in banking and insur- 
ance was Hartford drawing attention; an institution was about 
to be formed, through individual sacrifice and generosity, that 
was to make its name blessed throughout the country. Dr. Mason 
F. Coggswell, one of the Hartford writers, had a young daugh- 
ter who became a deaf mute following a sickness. After his study 
here and abroad, others became interested. In 1815, at a meeting 
of men like Ward Woodbridge, Daniel Wadsworth, Daniel Buck, 
Joseph Battell (of Norfolk), Rev. Dr. Nathan Strong of the First 
Church, Henry Hudson, Major Terry, Major Caldwell and Rev. 
Thomas H. Gallaudet, Yale 1805 and recently graduated at An- 
dover Theological Seminary, Doctor Coggswell and Mr. Wood- 
bridge were appointed a committee. Funds soon were raised 
with which Mr. Gallaudet went to Europe to learn all he could. 
In 1816 he returned from the Institution for Deaf Mutes in Paris, 
bringing with him Laurent Clerc, a teacher and one who could 
illustrate scientific methods. He found a school already incor- 
porated, the sum of $12,000 was raised and the state gave $5,000. 
An institution was opened in 1817 in a building on Main Street 
near Gold and within a year there were sixty pupils, many from 
remote places, for the fame of it had gone far. Congress in 1819, 
after investigation, made a grant of 23,000 acres of land where- 
upon, to give widest scope, the name was made the American 
Asylum at Hartford for the Education and Instruction of Deaf 
and Dumb Persons, eventually the American School for the Deaf. 
William Ely was very helpful in arranging details. Spacious 
buildings were erected in 1821 on Asylum Avenue and pupils 
were received formally from other states, they making special 
appropriations. Liberality rendered it possible for thousands of 
pupils to gain their education while the school was on the avenue. 
After the Hartford Fire Insurance Company had bought the 
property for the buildings it opened in 1921, the school obtained 
still wider grounds in West Hartford and there erected probably 
the most complete institution of the kind in the land. 

Mr. Gallaudet's health failing under the heavy strain, he was 
obliged to retire in 1830. With it all he had trained many good 
teachers, some of whom had gone out to other institutions and 
some remained here. A statue, representing him teaching Doc- 
tor CoggswelPs daughter, was erected in his memory at Wash- 
ington in 1888, by vote at a convention of grateful mutes. He 



Founder of School for the Deaf 



married one of his own pupils, and two of his sons carried on the 
work here before being called to other fields. Rev. Thomas Gal- 
laudet, the elder, after graduation at Trinity, became a teacher 
in the New York Institute for the Deaf and in 1845 married one 
of his pupils. In 1852 he established in New York St. Ann's 
Church for deaf mutes, of which he was made rector. He also 
founded the Church Mission for Deaf Mutes; the home for the 
aged and infirm which the mission established was named after 
him. The younger son, Edward M. Gallaudet, after leaving here, 
built up Gallaudet College which Congress established in Wash- 
ington in 1864 with Mr. Gallaudet as president. The statue of 
the elder Gallaudet, after whom the college was named, stands 
on the lawn there. The British government consulted with Mr. 
Gallaudet and the French government gave him the cross of chev- 
alier of the Legion of Honor. Trinity and Yale conferred upon 
him the degree of LL. D. . He helped form the Convention of 
American Instructors of the Deaf and was its president till his 
death in 1917. He also won recognition along lines of literature 
and science. In 1910 he returned to Hartford to spend his last 
days. Frank R. Wheeler is now the principal of the school, with 
an exceptional corps of instructors. 

In another institution which has made national history and 
which was organized in this period, the Hartford Retreat, men 
of the highest position, businesswise, professionally and socially, 
have given freely of their time as officers and directors. To the 
Connecticut Medical Society is due the credit for this humani- 
tarian work. One today can hardly believe the findings of the 
society in its investigation of conditions around the state in 1812 
when paupers and criminals were crowded into such miserable 
quarters as could be provided in individual towns. There were 
only two institutions for the insane in the whole country and the 
problem of how to care for them as people suffering with a dis- 
ease never had been taken up. The name of Dr. Eli Todd of 
Farmington and Hartford will always be associated with the be- 
ginning of the work of relief. Born in New Haven in 1769 and 
graduated at Yale in 1787, he rose to highest place among physi- 
cians of the state. In 1821 he presented facts concerning the 
insane so forcefully before the state medical convention that a 
committee was appointed consisting of himself, Thomas Miner 
and Samuel B. Woodward, funds were raised — the State Medi- 


cal Society being the largest subscriber — a charter was obtained 
together with an appropriation of $5,000, Bishop Brownell was 
chairman of the building committee, the Ira Todd farm in Hart- 
ford was bought, the central building of the present group was 
built, and the institution was opened in April, 1824. And Doc- 
tor Todd, the one practical expert in the United States, accepted 
the position of superintendent on a salary of $1,000. His suc- 
cessor was Dr. Silas Fuller, who had studied the principles with 
pupils in his own home. The standards then established have 
been maintained by such distinguished scientists as Dr. Amariah 
Brigham, Dr. John S. Butler, Dr. E. K. Hunt, Dr. W. H. Rock- 
well, Dr. G. B. Hawley, Dr. William Porter, Dr. James Denny 
and Dr. C. W. Page, and now Dr. Whitefield N. Thompson. The 
main building has been enlarged from time to time, other build- 
ings added, including the lodge given by Dr. Gurdon W. Russell, 
and the extensive grounds beautified. 

Orphans first received attention in 1809 when the Hartford 
Female Beneficent Society was formed. Boys were neglected till 
1831 when a fund was raised, Mrs. Joseph Trumbull was chosen 
president with nineteen other women and a charter was secured 
in 1833. A building on Washington Street was given for the boys 
with school facilities for the girls. The organizations combining 
under a new charter as the Hartford Orphan Asylum, a lot was 
bought on Putnam Street where a very complete and attractive 
building was erected and was occupied in 1878. This was the 
beginning of the present Children's Village, and along with it 
the Watkinson Juvenile Asylum and Farm School, founded and 
endowed by David Watkinson and chartered in 1858. 

With the founding of so many of today's important financial, 
commercial and charitable institutions early in the century, the 
picture of the period cannot be complete without another word 
about Rev. Dr. Strong of the First Church. On the passing of 
the days of infidelity, when his church had a membership of only 
fifteen and there was the scandal of intemperance, he was a 
leader in the work of reformation begun in 1794, preaching, lec- 
turing and writing articles. A fresh temperance revival was 
under way at his death in 1816, and in 1818 came Dr. Joel Hawes, 
of Medway birth, a graduate of Brown and recently of Andover, 
who was to inspire a series of revivals and to become one of the 
most noted of New England divines. On his arrival he wrote 



that the church was superior in respect to number, character and 
elegance; that he felt disconcerted before "these judges, lawyers, 
doctors, merchants and people in the highest grades of society;" 
and again : "They are intelligent, dignified, devout and thought- 
ful — fine lawyers and fastidious folks." Back in 1810, the com- 
ment of S. G. Goodrich ("Peter Parley") was: "The town dealt 
in lumber and smelt of molasses and old Jamaica, for it still has 
some trade with the West Indies. It had a high tone of general 
respectability and intelligence. There were a few merchants and 
many shopkeepers. A few dainty patricians still held themselves 

A relic of the war which was to do service for almost a hun- 
dred years was the state arsenal, of a kind of Swiss-Gothic archi- 
tecture, built in 1812, on the east side of Windsor Avenue near 
the North Cemetery. 

The Revolution, the embargoes and the latest war had given 
an impetus to industry and to invention. In 1811 Charles Rey- 
nolds of East Windsor had emulated Doctor Kingsley of 1797 
and actually took out a patent on a steam-propelled vehicle. John 
L. Welles of Hartford in 1819 patented the first printing press 
with the long lever. E. Burt of Manchester invented the first 
American power loom for weaving checks and plaids. 




The Connecticut Courant held supreme sway as a newspaper 
till 1817. Thomas Green's "experiment" is still succeeding. He 
himself felt encouraged to continue it regularly with his issue of 
October 29, 1764. The cause for which it was conceived — oppo- 
sition to royal high-handedness — it did much to promote, suffer- 
ing painfully with the people, as has been described, but encour- 
aging them in their patriotism. Its regularity in sequence of 
ownership as well as its fidelity to its French name (which it so 
thoroughly Americanized in Hartford as to cause its readers to 
forget its true pronunciation and also that it meant a lively kind 
of dance as well as newspaper) make of its chronicle a simple 
matter. When Green went to New Haven in 1768 he passed on 
the publication to his partner, William Watson, who took George 
Goodwin into partnership in 1778 and on his death left the edi- 
torship in the hands of his widow, Hannah Bunce Watson, the 
first newspaper woman. During the first year of her experience 
in disseminating news she married Barzillai Hudson and in 1779 
the firm name became Hudson & Goodwin, continuing as such till 
it was changed to George Goodwin & Sons in 1815. The next 
change was not till 1836 when John L. Boswell bought the prop- 
erty and the following year began a daily as well as a weekly 
edition, dropping the "Connecticut" from the title of the daily, 
without thereby limiting its field. William Faxon was in part- 
nership from 1850 to 1855 when Mr. Boswell died. Then Thomas 
M. Day became sole owner, Faxon going with the Evening Press 
where he was to be joined by Joseph R. Hawley in 1857. Two 
years later A. N. Clark acquired an interest, and the paper con- 
tinued under the management of A. N. Clark & Company through 



~'X ; -f 

19 i .9 J? 

'• vA —i -n ,_r i - Ji 

From etching by Philip Kappel 


the rise of the republican party and the period of the Civil war 
to the great but natural change to be recounted later, in 1867. 

The Courant had seen other weeklies come and go, such as 
the Freeman's Chronicle and the Hartford Gazette (1794). Like 
the American Mercury, employed by the Hartford Wits, they 
were of a special character. The Mercury continued till absorbed 
in the Independent Press in 1833. Early in the century it be- 
came sharply anti-federal. As an offset, Charles Hosmer began 
publishing the Connecticut Mirror in 1809, strongly federal. 
Theodore Dwight was its editor during the war and until 
1815. John G. C. Brainard came from Middletown to be 
editor in 1822 and some of his best poems appeared in the paper. 
He died in 1828. The paper was a failure. George D. Prentice's 
New England Review, started in 1828, gained wide fame, Pren- 
tice's own ability as a writer being supplemented by that of dis- 
tinguished contributors. On his removal to Kentucky, where he 
established the Louisville Journal, he introduced as his successor 
John Greenleaf Whittier, some of whose poems he had been pub- 
lishing. Whittier was anti-Jackson and was chosen the "national 
republican" delegate to the convention that nominated Henry 
Clay, but could not go. During the two years he was here, he 
greatly enjoyed the social life of the city and his walks into the 
surrounding country. 

In 1833 the publishers of the Review came out with the first 
daily paper Hartford had had. William G. Comstock bought out 
Samuel Hanmer, Jr., his partner, in 1834, and after that it con- 
tinued till 1844 as a political sheet. For a while later there was 
another publication under the same name. It was established by 
Wells & Willard as the Columbian in 1844, taking the name of the 
Review in 1846, the editor being Lucius F. Robinson, Yale '43, 
a brilliant young lawyer. He continued as editor when J. Gay- 
lord Wells made it a daily under the name of the Connecticut 
Whig, as which it continued till absorbed by the Courant in 1849. 
Mr. Robinson was made editor of the American Literary Maga- 
zine, published in New York but prepared here. The Courant 
also took over the Journal, published daily and weekly from 1843 
to 1845 by Elihu Geer (founder of the City Directory in 1839) 
as a Henry Clay and protection paper. A half dozen small lit- 
erary magazines were published from time to time during these 

21— VOL. 1 


Hartford was a publishing center. The Churchman's Maga- 
zine of 1821 was followed by the Episcopal Watchman in 1828 
and the Calendar in 1845, till the Churchman was established in 
1865, subsequently moving to New York. Elihu Geer published 
the Congregationalist in 1839, which later was removed to Bos- 
ton. The Congregational Religious Herald was established by 
D. B. Moseley in 1841, one of the earliest of its sect, preceded by 
the Connecticut Observer (1821-1841), edited by Horace Hooker, 
and the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, from 1800 for sev- 
eral years. The Christian Secretary of the Baptist denomination 
began in 1822. The Catholic Press of 1835 was removed to Phil- 
adelphia. The Connecticut Catholic, predecessor of the present 
Transcript, did not come in till 1875. Thomas H. Seymour, later 
governor and United States minister to Russia, edited the weekly 
Jeffersonian, published for two years by Henry Bolles. In 1838 
the Connecticut School Manual, one of the first educational jour- 
nals in the country, was produced by Dr. Henry Barnard, state 
school commissioner, was published many years and then was re- 
vived by him on his return here in 1851 and continued till turned 
over by him to the State Teachers' Association while the doctor 
began the American Journal of Education, a national quarterly 
which incidentally developed treatises that constituted the 
largest issue of its kind in print. 

When the cry of "Toleration" and "New Constitution" 
reached its height in 1817, a professional printer, Frank D. 
Bolles, thought there was room for another paper, and a young 
lawyer from Enfield was glad of opportunity to mould public 
opinion for the anti-federalists and the Connecticut liberals. 
They got together material to establish the weekly Times. 
This was the beginning of the career of John M. Niles. For a 
time in 1819 he was proprietor, Bolles the printer. The subse- 
quent proprietors through the early days were: 1819, John Fran- 
cis (Wethersfield) and Samuel Bowles who went together to 
found the Springfield Republican; 1824, Benjamin H. Norton, 
with John Russell in partnership in 1826 and Gideon Welles edi- 
tor—a contributor till 1854; 1828-1837, John Russell; 1838, 
Charles H. Jones, editor and proprietor; 1838, Judge Henry 
Mitchell, and Alfred E. Burr who became editor and in 1841 sole 
proprietor; joined by his brother as partner and editor in 1855; 
1861, Burr Brothers, and then on with the history of modern 

At the Main Street head of what is now Gold Street. Established January 1, 1817 


Columns and terra cotta from the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst's Madison Square Presbyterian 

Church, New York 


Mr. Niles (1787-1856) was born in Windsor. He gave his 
editorial support to Jackson and was appointed postmaster. In 
1835 he was sent to fill the unexpired term of Nathan Smith in 
the Senate. At the close of the term he was called to Van Buren's 
cabinet as postmaster-general. From 1843 to 1849 he was again 
senator. He found time for considerable outside writing, mostly 
of an historical nature, as will later appear. Always he was a 
generous supporter of charitable institutions. Mr. Burr, whose 
career is analyzed elsewhere, had been saving his money as fore- 
man of the Courant when George Goodwin the elder offered him 
an interest in the paper provided he would carry on its whig 
principles. Loth to abandon his political faith, he asked Judge 
Mitchell for an interest in the Times, in 1839. This being 
allowed, in 1841 he bought the whole plant, giving his notes, and 
on March 2 issued the first daily edition with a subscription list 
of 300. Not only did he reveal editorial vigor, but he made it 
the perpetual cardinal principle to secure good management and 
to keep pace with mechanical improvements. In 1848 he was the 
first in the state to use a cylinder press. The office in those days 
was on the second floor of the Museum Building at the corner of 
Main Street and Central Row. For many years it had been in a 
building at the head of present Gold Street, and prior to its re- 
moval to its present location on Prospect Street it was at the cor- 
ner of Main and Grove. 

The book-publishing business, for so many years a feature of 
Hartford life, traces its first national importance to the house of 
Hudson & Goodwin. The millions of Webster's spelling books, 
the Gallaudet and Hooker spelling books, Peter Parley's writings, 
his histories under his own name of Samuel G. Goodrich, Olney's, 
Smith's and Woodbridge's geographies, Comstock's and Davies' 
treatises on science and mathematics and various other educa- 
tional works were published here. Silas Andros was the first in 
the subscription-book line which became extensive. David F. 
Robinson in 1824 founded the house of D. F. Robinson & Com- 
pany, later Robinson & Pratt, which put on the market many text 
books and the "Cottage Bible," edited by Dr. William Patton. 
After their publishing business had been transferred to New 
York, they continued a book store here and eventually sold to 
Daniel Burgess, from whose store sprang others to which Bel- 
knap & Warfield, G. F. Warfield & Company and Edward Val- 
entine Mitchell's can trace back their history. 


There were also the publishing houses of 0. D. Cooke, H. & 
F. J. Huntington, Hamersley & Belknap, William J. Hamersley, 
Brown & Gross, the house of Bliss, Lucius A. Stebbins whose con- 
cern adopted the well known name of the American Publishing 
Company, though not organizing as such till 1865, and became 
the foremost of subscription-book houses, publishing many widely 
sold books, Mark Twain's earlier ones among them; Hurlburt 
& Kellogg, Hurlburt & Williams who cleared over $80,000 in one 
year on the "Nurse and Spy" and established the Hartford Pub- 
lishing Company; O. D. Case & Company, publishers of Greeley's 
"History of the Civil War;" S. S. Scranton & Company, J. D. 
Burr & Company, J. B. Bretts and E. Gately & Company. Case, 
Tiffany & Company, predecessors of the present Case, Lockwood 
& Brainard Company, were the first publishers of Webster's 
"Unabridged Dictionary." Engraving and lithography were 
developed to a high degree. The house of Kellogg, original of 
the present Kellogg & Bulkeley, was famous for its lithographs 
and in the war time was producing in color pictures now highly 
prized by collectors. In the experimental stage of this great dis- 
covery, a soldier in black and white appeared sometimes to be 
jumping out of his colored uniform of blue or brown. The whole 
industry of book binding, formerly so laborious, was revolution- 
ized by the machinery devised and made by the Smyth Manufac- 
turing Company of Hartford. 

The writer of the Comstock textbooks referred to in a previ- 
ous paragraph was Dr. John Lee Comstock of New London who 
began practicing here after having served as surgeon in the war. 
Among the most celebrated of all his many books, on every 
branch of science, was "System of Natural Philosophy." 

William Watson in 1828 turned his store on Main Street into 
a repository . of books and pamphlets in the cause of universal 
peace and in 1834 published the American Advocate of Peace 
which was taken by the national society as its organ. Some of 
the prominent citizens joined earnestly with him in this move- 

If the abundant flow of printers' ink after the war was a sign 
of turning energy in new directions, so too was the increase in 
the number of taverns around the county. One cause for there 

(Drawn by T. W. Barber. Engraved li.v A. Willanli 




being so many on the Albany pike between here and New Hart- 
ford was the development of trade inland. Doctor Russell in his 
"Up-Neck" enumerates twenty-one: Beginning near Asylum 
Street they were Joseph Pratt's, Joseph Pratt, Jr.'s, Dan St. 
John's, Daniel M. Cooley's, Samuel Moore's, James Goodwin's 
(west of Gully Brook), Lemuel Howlertt's, Elisha Wadsworth's 
(corner of Prospect Avenue), Barney Collins' (West Hartford 
four corners), Aaron Goodman's and Major Whiting's (the 
same), Erastus Phelps' (toll gate), Major Marshall's (at the foot 
of Avon Mountain), Francis Woodford's (Avon), Obed Higley's, 
Hosford's (Canton), Zenos Dyer's, Samuel Merrill's (Satan's 
Kingdom), Wilcox's (Pine Meadow), and General Cowles' (New 
Hartford, where breakfast was served for those leaving Hart- 
ford for Albany at 2 in the morning). The store of E. and R. 
Terry at the corner of Windsor Avenue was a transportation 
center, a constant procession of vehicles passing it night and day, 
including not a few wagons of Ohio-bound emigrants. It was a 
"filling station" in accord with the ideas of that day. But on 
Sundays no traffic or labor was permitted in the vicinity. 

The increase in social festivities may have had something to 
do with the tavern increase. A favorite form of entertainment 
was a dinner at an inn a good sleigh-ride distant. The Philo- 
sophical Literary Society began a series of reading entertain- 
ments in 1826 in the old Circus Building on the east side of State 
House Square. This developed into "performances" which drew 
such crowds that the law interfered and the participants were 
punished. In 1852 the law was passed permitting local option 
in the matter of entertainment, and the next year theaters and 
circuses were licensed. "Election Day" had survived the 
troublous period as the one especially festive occasion. Perhaps 
not so much cooking of " 'lection cake" was done weeks in ad- 
vance, but the hospitality, to friend and stranger, was unlim- 
ited. All forms of musical instruments were requisitioned, both 
before and after the parade from the State House to Church to 
hear the sermon and then back to the State House to hear the 
announcement of everybody who had been elected. Aside from 
the bareheaded sheriff at the head of the parade, bearing a sword, 
and the military, there were in this period over 200 of the clergy. 
The last sermon was preached in 1830, for the expense of the 
dinner for the clergy, sometimes as high as $100, had become 
more than the state treasurer could allow. With that the pomp 


and splendor was gradually discontinued, even to the cockade in 
the chief executive's hat. By 1836 the Legislature had ceased to 
march and since 1852 the ceremonies have been much simpler, 
though the governor's ball, sponsored by the Foot Guard, is main- 
tained and likewise the inauguration military parade. 

The need of a larger market than that on the square caused 
Mayor Terry to suggest that in building a new one accommoda- 
tion should be made for town meetings which were still being 
held in the State House. Accordingly when the city bought the 
Lee homestead on present Market Street and put up a building 
60x110 feet, rooms were provided on the second floor for the 
Common Council and also for the four "night watch," together 
with cells. Then on the third floor was an auditorium. It was 
there that Daniel Webster spoke in 1837 and Lincoln in 1860. 

Be it said in way of distinction that even thus early Hartford 
appreciated the need of security for its town records. The cry 
for it was heeded in 1839 when a one-story building was put up 
on Pearl Street on land bought of Robert Watkinson, and there 
was additional land in the rear for fire apparatus and watch- 
house. More room being needed, land was bought in 1853 of 
George W. Corning at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull streets 
and the Hall of Records was built at a cost of $22,384, to serve 
admirably till the Municipal Building was erected. The Corning 
homestead adjoining has passed from the estate only in this pres- 
ent year. 

In 1829 the town voted to call what is now Asylum Hill sec- 
tion "Tower Hill District" and present Asylum Street to Thomas 
Chester's house, at the corner of Ann, Tower Hill Street. The 
location of any tower on former "Brick Hill" is not known. 

The present stone edifice of Christ Church was dedicated in 
1829, in the regretted absence of Bishop Thomas C. Brownell 
who had been rector from 1819 to 1821. Other rectors who be- 
came bishops were Philander Case (1811-1817), Jonathan M. 
Wainwright (1817-1819) provisional bishop of New York, 
George Burgus (1834-1847) bishop of Maine, and Thomas M. 
Clark (1851-1857) bishop of Rhode Island. Rector N. S. 
Wheaton (1821-1831) became president of Trinity College. The 
first expansion of the church was in 1841 when St. John's was 
organized with Rev. Arthur Cleveland Coxe as rector. Of this 
church, Rector W. C. Doane (1863-1867) became bishop. 


First rector of St. John's Episcopal 
Church. Installed in 1842 


A number of prominent women in 1825 organized the 
Widows' Society, to distribute aid from a fund by selected almon- 
ers. At his death in 1856, Senator Niles left $26,000 as a fund 
which, when it reached $40,000, should furnish income for this 
society and the Charitable Society in Hartford which does such 
good work today. 

Lafayette, when he came in 1824, beheld a very different 
Hartford from that he had known in the days of the Revolution. 
Nothing was spared in the way of decorations and plans for en- 
tertainment to make him appreciate the sincerity of the applause 
for him. He was expected on the evening of September 2 but 
ovations along the way delayed his arrival till the 3d. The 
throngs remained in the illuminated streets till after midnight 
despite a heavy rain. A large military escort, headed by the 
Governor's Horse Guards under command of Maj. J. E. Hart, 
went out to meet the general. The Foot Guard also were in the 
escort in the city. The general was accompanied by his son, 
George Washington Lafayette, and a few personal friends. 
Breakfast was furnished at Bennett's Hotel by the city corpora- 
tion, including John Trumbull and John Caldwell who had at- 
tended when Lafayette was given the freedom of the city forty 
years before. Governor Wolcott welcomed him at the State 
House where about one hundred officers and soldiers of the Revo- 
lution attended the reception. Brig.-Gen. Nathan Johnson com- 
manded the provisional brigade in the review under an arch in 
front of the State House, and the reporter said that "the guest 
discovered much satisfaction at the elegant appearance of the 
troops." School children with appropriate badges, followed. In 
their behalf, Dr. John Lee Comstock, the scientist and writer, 
presented a gold medal wrapped in a paper on which were writ- 
ten verses by Lydia Huntley Sigourney. At Daniel Wadsworth's 
he saw the sash and epaulettes he had worn as major-general, 
stained with blood at the time he was wounded at the battle of 
Brandy wine. (In the corridor of the Capitol today is the gen- 
eral's camp cot.) He sailed for New York in the afternoon on 
the Oliver Ellsworth. 

The city has had the pleasure of paying honor to many dis- 
tinguished men, including Washington and Commodore Macdon- 
ough, as mentioned, to Generals Sherman and Sheridan and to 
Presidents Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Johnson, Grant, Roosevelt 
and Taft. 




The birth of an Episcopal college in a typical Congregational 
community is, despite the pains attendant, a mere individual 
item to enliven history, for one who has not read consecutively 
the tale of the Three Constitution Towns. But for him who 
has marked the weaving and interweaving since the period of the 
Constitution and before, and has taken each incident in the light 
of others of its particular decade, the incident stands out as a 
notable part of that motif in nation-building which will run 
through indefinite periods. It must be remembered that whatever 
worth while had been gained, from the beginning back in Eng- 
land, had been at the cost of sacrifice and pain; the hand that 
had had to guide had been hard, firm. Joy in doing had been 
negatived by the wilderness and by the absence of simplest facili- 
ties. It was duty that impelled and allegiance was essential not 
to the traditions of the ancestors but to God and to this new thing 
they had made on the remote river bank — this free government 
of theirs. The makers thereof and their descendants perforce 
had to instill reverence and protection or lose. Let sects murmur 
as they might, pressure was resisted till the form was set. Not 
till then could further human compatability be freely approved 
and the old Constitution be dressed up with the new. 

The Episcopalians who had struggled to maintain their 
Cheshire Academy since 1792 found little difficulty in getting 
their charter for a college through the Legislature in May, 1823. 
It is notable that a third of the corporators were not church- 
men; in Hartford in particular there was hearty cooperation, 
and all was done that could be done to give the college a good 
start. For one thing they removed the religious test which lat- 



First president of Trinity College. 
Elected in 1824 




terly had come to stir criticism for Yale. The effect was consid- 
erable since conservative Yale saw the light and removed that 
test — the day before the petition went to the Capitol. Hartford 
cannon and bonfires celebrated the passage of the legislative act. 
Of the $50,000 subscribed for the college the first year, three- 
fourths was from Hartford. By town vote the selectmen raised 
$5,000 by conveying to William H. Imlay, Charles Sigourney, 
Samuel Tudor and Cyprian Nichols, for the college, all of the 
town's lands then under lease on the banks of Little River, and 
two small lots in the Ancient Burying Ground. The town won in 
the competition for location. Seabury Hall, designed by S. F. B. 
Morse, and Jarvis Hall, designed by Samuel Willard of Boston, 
were ready for occupancy in 1825. Meanwhile Bishop Thomas 
C. Brownell, who had been a professor at Union College, his alma 
mater, had been elected president and studying had been begun 
in city rooms in September, 1824. The first seven students were 
increased to twenty-eight in number during the year. Special 
courses were provided for those who could not remain four years. 
Rev. Dr. S. F. Jarvis came to the college faculty in 1828 and 
when he gave the use of his library, the institution was unex- 
celled in this particular by any college except Harvard. This 
was an impetus which has been enjoyed to the present time. 

The name chosen was to have been Seabury but out of re- 
spect for the number of non-church corporators and to disarm 
lingering prejudice it was made Washington. Bishop Brownell, 
whose statue, the gift of his son-in-law, will always adorn the 
campus, resigned in 1831 to give his time to his diocesan duties, 
and Dr. N. S. Wheaton succeeded him. In the administration of 
Dr. Silas Totten, after Brownell Hall had been built, the name 
was changed, in 1844, to Trinity; the Board of Fellows was 
formed and graduates outside the corporation were organized 
into the House of Convocation. Dr. John Williams' presidency 
began in 1848. In 1851 he created a theological department 
which in 1854 was chartered as the Berkeley Divinity School and 
located in Middletown where it remained till 1928 when it re- 
moved to New Haven. In 1853, two years after having been 
elected assistant bishop, Doctor Williams (who later succeeded 
Bishop Brownell) resigned the presidency which went in turn to 
Dr. Daniel R. Goodwin, in 1860 to Dr. Samuel Eliot, in 1864 to 
Dr. John B. Kerfoot who was elected to the bishopric of Pitts- 

22— VOL. 1 


burgh, in 1867 to Dr. Abner Jackson (then president of Hobart), 
and in 1874 to Dr. Thomas R. Pynchon when the present era 
began on the new campus, as will be seen in following the course 
of the city's development. 

One has to clear his mind thoroughly of the modern public 
school system to get a conception of the hiatus in public educa- 
tional matters (the country over) between the 1770s and the 
1830s. To pick up the thread where it was dropped in Chapter 
VIII, it is noted that interest in the higher-grade "grammar" 
school revived in 1798 when Judge John Trumbull secured the in- 
corporation of the institution which seemingly could have done so 
much more for the community. But that school was for boys 
only and there continued unexplainable neglect of all the children 
of intermediate grades, on the part of people who in the begin- 
ning had been so strenuous. The district schools amounted to but 
little for elementary work. The result altogether was a crop of 
private schools chiefly for girls, for which it is said more money 
was paid by those who could afford it than was paid for the sup- 
port of the classical school. Moreover, attention was drawn away 
from that school. Ebenezer Whiting was among the first to ad- 
vertise for pupils. 

Prof. Thomas A. Thacher who attended seven public and pri- 
vate schools here at his birthplace before starting in 1831 for a 
degree at Yale, where in due time he became one of the most 
widely known instructors of his generation, wrote a reminiscent 
letter in his later days. The teachers impressed him. He never 
forgot one woman who reveled in such punishments as preparing 
the paraphernalia to open a pupil's arm and let the bad blood run 
out and another who carefully strung a cord over a beam and ad- 
justed the noose for hanging one of the boys. Noah Webster in 
1794 was one of the first to try to introduce something or other 
in the way of elementary education. Struck by the daily evi- 
dence of the evil in grammar and rhetoric, he held classes in his 
rooms at the northeast corner of Main and Mulberry streets, 
whither he had come from his father's home still standing in 
West Hartford; but the shocking situation as to spelling soon 
drove him to making fortunes for various publishers (down even 
to 1900) with his world-famed spelling books. This was before 

(Photo by Aerial Camera Corporation) 


Campus and Athletic Field. Entrance to Summit Park in foreground 


laborious work in New Haven preparing his no less needed dic- 

George Jeffrey Patten, son of Rev. William Patten of the 
First Church, had struggled along on the pittance of preceptor- 
ship of the grammar school for six years when in 1798 with his 
wife and sisters he opened a private school in the old State House 
which, as said, had been moved to a spot next west of Christ 
Church. His wife Ruth was the daughter of Rev. Eleazer Wheel- 
ock, the teacher of Indians at Lebanon who founded Dartmouth 
College. Later Mr. Patten established the Literary Institute on 
Main Street above Asylum, for boys only. Thacher attended 
the girls' school conducted by the ladies of the family, an 
exception being made in his case because of his Lebanon ante- 
cedents. He lingeringly describes the homelike atmosphere with 
the aged mother sitting by the fireplace and he quotes as from 
the advertisement: "The time was divided between study, paint- 
ing, embroidery, and some needle work." (The daughters kept 
the school till 1825.) The most he could remember of the insti- 
tute which he attended later was that Mr. Patten appeared very 
much bored. 

Lydia Huntley, the poet, was called here from Norwich by 
Daniel Wadsworth in 1815 to conduct a girls' school. Her charm 
won Charles Sigourney, eminent man of affairs, and they were 
married in 1819, after which she was mistress of his new man- 
sion near the present railroad station. Mrs. Kinneer in 1827 
had a school at the corner of Arch Street for Episcopalians. She 
was succeeded in 1843 by the Misses Draper who continued till 
1850. The Misses Watson in 1836 had a school on Main Street 
and in 1858 T. W. T. Curtis one at the Brinley House on Asylum 

A strong rival of the school of the Misses Patten was that of 
Mrs. Lydia Bull Royse, dating from about 1800 and, after her 
retirement, carried on by her daughter, Mrs. Eliza Lydia Shel- 
don, till 1818. Mrs. Royse, a native of Hartford, a descendant 
of Capt. Thomas Bull, had returned here after the death of her 
husband, John Royse. In this "finishing school" for girls barred 
from the grammar school and for many from out of town, in- 
cluding Emma Hart of Berlin (Mrs. Willard), one accomplish- 
ment in which pupils prided themselves was the embroidery of 


groups of classical heroes with faces painted in — but no paint on 
the faces of the painters in those old days. The school was dis- 
continued on the death of Mr. Sheldon who was a partner of 
"Peter Parley" in publishing. The school's first location was at 
the corner of Main and Belden streets and the second in the 
Whitman house at the corner of Main and Capitol Avenue. Sub- 
sequently Mrs. Sheldon opened a school in association with Mrs. 
Grosevenor. In 1819 and for several years Dr. Lyman Strong 
had a school for girls. 

Of all these schools the one of widest repute was the Hart- 
ford Female Seminary, incorporated by several prominent men 
in 1827, with Catherine E. Beecher, daughter of Rev. Dr. Lyman 
Beecher of Litchfield, for the head of it. Previously Miss Beecher 
and her sister Mary (later Mrs. Thomas C. Perkins) had had a 
school on Asylum Street which in the four years since 1823 had 
increased in membership from seven to over a hundred. The cor- 
poration built near the corner of Main and Kinsley streets where 
the school remained till it removed to a new and still more suit- 
able building on Pratt Street. Harriet Beecher was a pupil and 
remained as a teacher. So earnest were Catherine Beecher's 
efforts in behalf of education for women that her health failed 
and she resigned in 1831, leaving her assistants to carry on her 
ideas in many parts of the country. John P. Brace, who after- 
ward had a school in Litchfield, succeeded her. Subsequent teach- 
ers included Helen A. Swift, Mary M. Parker, Maria Jewell, 
Frances M. Strong, Anna Maria Parker, Miss N. S. Ranney, Mr. 
and Mrs. M. S. Crosby, William T. Gage and M. Louise Bacon. 
Miss Beecher, who had been unconscious of the similar work of 
Mrs. Willard (of Berlin) at Waterford and Troy, started 
another school in Cincinnati and, penetrating the Middle West 
with her methods, offered support and teachers for a number of 
towns where the seed she sowed yielded rich harvest. The trus- 
tees sold the local academy building to the Good Will Club 
in 1888. 

The times were more than ripe for a Henry Barnard. Special 
efforts were put forth in the '30s to improve conditions and to 
have a public high school, but it was almost a decade before the 





Home of Lydia Huntley Sigourney, the poetess. Still used for special school purposes. 

Located west of present railroad tracks, south of Asylum Street. Was model for the 

Connecticut Building at the St. Louis Exposition 


efforts were rewarded. The grammar school had improved but 
it was woefully wanting. Though a new building in 1828 had 
been a welcome sign, there still was lack of correlation. By 1838, 
however, Doctor Barnard's great work for schools in Connecticut 
and eventually in the United States had begun to bear fruit; he 
had brought about the opening of legislative eyes, and in 1838 his 
State Board of School Commissioners had evinced an interest in 
Hartford which was to culminate in 1847 in the opening of the 
Hartford English and Classical High School, the present Hart- 
ford Public High School. 

The doctor had been a member of the local Board of School 
Visitors since 1840. He had advocated consolidation of the three 
districts into one; proper gradation; several schools for the 
youngest, with ample playgrounds; two or three secondary 
schools; two free high schools or two departments in one — one 
for the boys and one for the girls ; admission on examination, and 
a preparatory classical course — the whole to be entrusted to an 
elective board, two-thirds to be elected annually, and to a super- 
intendent who should devote all his time to overseeing and who 
should employ the teachers and "meet with them for instruc- 
tion." This plan had the hearty endorsement of Rev. George 
Burgess and Dr. Horace Bushnell, but when it went to the elec- 
torate politics and selfish considerations entered in, especially in 
the South District (according to Doctor Barnard), and that dis- 
trict's adverse vote was prohibitive. 

In 1845 the agitation was resumed and two years later James 
M. Bunce, A. M. Collins and D. F. Robinson devoted most of their 
time to reorganizing in connection with the high school, the pur- 
pose being to bring about all the proposed changes most desired. 
Of these, consolidation was not one; there was a sentiment that 
the political evil in any one district might do the "leavening" for 
the whole three, and districts which were improving would be 
pulled down. It was a vigorous campaign the expense of which 
was borne by Mr. Bunce, and he gave $1,000 toward the comple- 
tion of the new building erected at the corner of Ann and Asylum 
streets. By arrangement the Hopkins Grammar School, as it 
was then known, became the classical department of the new 
school, limiting its pupils to thirty-five; Rector William Capron 
removed to the new building and continued till 1853 when he was 


succeeded by his brother, S. M. Capron. Joshua D. Giddings 
served briefly as principal of the high school and was succeeded 
by Thomas K. Beecher, son of Dr. Lyman Beecher, who remained 
till 1850. His successor was H. A. Pratt, previously head of the 
Suffield Literary Institute. When S. M. Capron became princi- 
pal in 1865, the trustees and the High School Committee ar- 
ranged that he should have sole control of both schools — a prin- 
ciple which has been followed ever since. Joseph Hall succeeded 
Mr. Capron on the latter's death in 1874 and carried the history 
on till the era to be studied later. The second high school build- 
ing, on the site of the present buildings on Hopkins Street, was 
built in 1869. This building was burned in 1882 and a new one 
was erected and ready for occupancy in 1884. 

The districts were subdivided from time to time till they 
attained the present number of nine: First or Center, Brown 
School; South School; Henry Barnard School, Second North Dis- 
trict; West Middle; Arsenal School; Washington Street; South- 
west District; Northeast; Northwest. 

Doctor Barnard, never ceasing in his work for education, 
meantime had brought about the establishing of the state's first 
normal school, at New Britain of which he had been superin- 
tendent from 1850 to 1854. He earlier had seen his Board of 
Commissioners abolished (in 1842) on recommendation of Gov- 
ernor Cleveland and revived thirteen years later with him once 
more as secretary, he having abandoned the profession of law; 
he had been in similar work in Rhode Island; he had gained new 
ideas in Europe and his influence was being felt throughout the 
country. His presidency of the University of Wisconsin in 
1850-54 and of St. John's at Annapolis in 1867-70 and then his 
selection to serve from 1867 to 1870 as the first United States 
commissioner were to win him the title of the "Father of the 
Common School" while his vast amount of publications and his 
Journal of Education were to be recognized at Yale, Union and 
Harvard by their awarding the degree of LL. D. (His work is 
summarized in the period of 1900, the year of his death.) 

A literary club in the first quarter of the nineteenth century 
was reminiscent of the Hartford Wits. It had a few issues of its 


View from cupola of old statehouse. Buildings in foreground, reader's left to right: 
United States Hotel, Hartford Bank and Mitchell Building. At corner of Market and 
Kilbourn Streets behind is the old City Hall, where Police Department Building now 
stands. Beyond that the First District or Brown School Building. River was then 

at flood 

(From Nkiiii for English manufacturers of choice dinner pTattsj 


Taken from the east shore with little regard for perspective or proportions, but reveal- 
ing warehouses long since past. Statehouse is conspicuous near the center. To the 
north of it: Old Fourth Congregational Church, Old First Baptist Church, Christ 
Church, New First Baptist Church and New Fourth Congregational Church. South of 
Statehouse: First Congregational Church, St. John's Church, Second Baptist Church 
and Second Congregational Church 


Rowid Table, carrying productions of the members ; it was not as 
brilliant as the vehicle of the Wits nor yet as sparkling as Behind 
the Hedge published from Woodland Street nearly a hundred 
years later, with a Beecherian and Perkinsian touch to it. Sam- 
uel G. Goodrich (1793-1860) during the years he was here, 
1816-1822, the "Peter Parley" of the days when he was publish- 
ing in Boston, was the life of the club. His writings were many 
and varied, essays, stories, histories, poetry, and as a publisher 
he did no little in encouraging good literature. He served for a 
time as consul at Paris. The residence of his later days in South- 
bury and his grave in the cemetery nearby are visited by many 
who read his works on publication or whose interest in them has 
been revived. Other members of the club were Bishop J. M. 
Wainwright, Hon. Isaac Toucey, Judge S. H. Huntington, Jona- 
than Law and Col. William L. Stone who wrote history and 

Lydia Huntley (Sigourney) (1791-1865) was the queen of 
America's "Annuals," "Memorials" and "Gifts" period, when 
college men wrote diaries of an intensely introspective character. 
One edition of her poems was published in England where she 
was referred to as another Hemans. Her "Past Meridian" is an 
example of more mature production. Percival and Mrs. Willard 
cannot be stolen from the Berlin section of this history. Brain- 
ard and Prentice have already appeared in the consecutive tale. 
The former found his best themes in nature along the Connecti- 
cut. John Greenleaf Whittier loved these scenes no less than he. 
Theodore Dwight the younger can be claimed by New York. The 
poems of Senator James Dixon (1814-1873) are the more re- 
markable in that they came from a man most active in profes- 
sional and political life. Henry Howard Brownell (1820-1872), 
a native of Providence, a resident of East Hartford, has been 
mentioned but he must be included in this list for he was cut 
down before his impaired health would permit him to be classi- 
fied with those of the '70s and '80s where he otherwise surely 
would have belonged. 

Value of interior navigation, emphasized by the embargoes, 
and astonishment at New Haven's and Farmington's plans to 


filch Hartford's trade were occupying busy men's minds rather 
more than schools and colleges. The Wethersfield sandbars 
being mastered first by the Union Company in 1800, the thirty- 
feet Enfield falls had remained the only barrier to a sweep of 
the Connecticut up into Vermont. Massachusetts men were dig- 
ging around the comparatively minor obstructions up-river. By 
poling the falls, trade had been good but it must be better. Plans 
had been started to overcome the handicap in Revolutionary clays 
but they had not materialized. Enfield got the right to build a 
canal in 1798 and built a bridge instead. It required one man to 
every ton of freight to pole the falls, and the time required to 
make the round trip to Wells River was one month. In 1825 
New York had opened the Erie canal and robbed Philadelphia of 
her chance to become the metropolis. New Haven, aided by 
Farmington, had a similar dream and its Farmington Canal 
Company, Inc., could easily tap the river trade at Northampton 
and after that go to the very northern boundaries with a water- 
way down through Farmington that would make New Haven the 
outlet for all central and western New England and eastern New 
York. The more men talked, the bigger the prospect. 

Hartford, the "head of sloop navigation," could not be caught 
napping. Citizens assembled New Year's Day, 1824, at City 
Hotel, to discuss expediency. In May they held a charter for the 
Connecticut River Company to improve navigation from the city 
northwards — and to have steamboats, the latest thing in trans- 
portation, impossible on long canals since they would wash the 
banks away. The company held its meetings at Joseph Morgan's 
Coffee House, the hatchery of so many other great enterprises. 
David Porter, John Russ and Eliphalet Averill put out a cir- 
cular descriptive of the virtue in "expeditious communication" 
from the Sound to Lake Memphremagog. All towns on the river 
sent delegates — Hartford's were Porter, William Ely, Alfred 
Smith and T. K. Brace — to a convention in Vermont; sites for 
factories the canal would make possible were checked up; the 
government was persuaded to send a "brigade" of engineers; 
2,000,000 New Englanders, including Hartford's 7,000, were to 
be benefitted along the 219 miles of water in its descent of 420 
feet. The cost of the improvements, including $368,000 for the 
upper canals, would be $1,500,000. 



Mural decorations copied from paintings of West Point and New York Bay in 1834, 
by F. Zipelius and Eugene Ehrmann of Alsace 


That implied financing. The Connecticut River Banking- 
Company, being incorporated in 1825, at $500,000, also began 
meeting at Morgan's, and at the same place had been associating 
since 1819 with the very successful men who in that year had 
organized the Aetna Insurance Company. There was coopera- 
tion. The insurance company remained there sixteen years and 
the bank four. Stress was laid on the employment of steam- 
boats, for it was in the day when they were crowded into the list 
of the world's Seven Wonders. The first one in the state had 
been made here in 1818; Captain Pitkin, of notable ancestry, was 
making regular trips to Saybrook the next year, stopping any- 
where to suit; the same year the Connecticut Steamboat Com- 
pany had been chartered with Elisha Colt as clerk and was run- 
ning a boat at six miles an hour "notwithstanding the wood was 
not seasoned" — tar gas making up for that. New York's mo- 
nopoly of the waters in her vicinity was broken by the Supreme 
Court in 1824 and immediately the local company put into opera- 
tion to and from that city a boat bearing the name of the former 
chief justice — Oliver Ellsworth. 

In late November, 1826, the river company, with the seventy- 
five foot, stern- wheel Barnet, proved before the eyes of a good 
part of the 2,000,000 souls referred to that a boat could go from 
here to Bellows Falls, Vt., under its own steam, simply being- 
boosted over Enfield Falls, on its initial voyage, by two scows 
lashed to it and poled. Newspapers of the day vied with each 
other in expressing their amazement. Everywhere the boat and 
President Alfred Smith were met with bands and salutes of bells 
and guns, and every day along the way "banquets" were waiting. 
After a few trips the boat was returned to New York. It was 
an historic demonstration, but steam had still other wonders 
in store. 

The directors of the river company sent a commission in 1826 
to England to investigate the portent of a railway train that had 
begun to run a few miles at the rate of six miles an hour. The 
commission found that so long as freight could be carried by the 
cheaper canal method four miles an hour there was no occasion 
to fear competition from the railroad. Immediately work was 
begun upon the canal which was opened in November, 1829, and 
the Blanchard and the Vermont, soon to be followed by a fleet of 

23— VOL. 1 


good craft, made excellent time through the six miles of canal 
with its three locks at the lower end and one at the head. 
Prosperity reigned the length of the valley. Charles Dick- 
ens honored the enterprise in his "American Notes," whimsically 
describing his trip from Springfield in 1842 when he was feted 
in Hartford. But the six-miles-an-hour railroad enterprise was 
gaining in speed till in 1844 the New Haven line was extended to 
Springfield and the canal as a profit-making institution was 
doomed. Through succeeding generations, however, it has been 
of much use, while its water power attracted industries to Wind- 
sor Locks. In 1846 a large part of the town was much excited 
over a plan to continue the canal down to Hartford to furnish 
water for power, for fire purposes and for domestic use, and 
thereby make Hartford the great manufacturing city of New 
England. The cost would be $965,000. The recommendation of 
the committee composed of Stephen Spencer, Leonard Kennedy 
and Denison Morgan, was not approved. 

The Farmington Canal, begun in Granby in 1825, did not get 
to New Haven till 1829. The account of its rise and early fall 
is in the Farmington section of these volumes. 

The River Banking Company became a wholly separate in- 
stitution after the collapse of the canal business. Its original 
directors were Daniel Wadsworth, Thomas S. Williams, James 
H. Wells, William H. Imlay, Eliphalet Averill and Alfred Smith 
who was president of both companies and twice held the office 
for the bank. In 1829 the bank moved its offices to the east end 
of the block of buildings which Henry L. Ellsworth had erected 
along Central Row. In 1870 it went to the new building of the 
Charter Oak Life Insurance Company on Main Street; thence in 
1887 to the southeast corner of Main and Pearl — during the 
presidency of Samuel E. Elmore who held office thirty-eight years 
— and thence in 1913 to its present quarters in the Travelers 
building, close by the Travelers Bank and Trust Company, its 
affiliated institution (1913) of which President L. Marsden Hub- 
bard of the "River Bank" is also president. To the vice presi- 
dent, Henry W. Erving, the world is indebted for collecting the 
interesting items of the romantic canal history in his book on 
the bank. 



We have seen that the first bank was associated with insur- 
ance, that the second was for developing inland trade and the 
third to promote river navigation. Those which followed may 
well be taken as index of the good that resulted — along with the 
savings bank — and of the obstacles that had to be overcome, po- 
litical and otherwise. The Farmers and Mechanics, chartered in 
1833, was expressly for the purpose of providing more capital 
for increasing business. The list of incorporators includes some 
names already prominent in public affairs and others of those 
which were to become so — men like James T. Pratt, Job Allyn, 
Horace Goodwin, 2d, Albert Day, A. H. Pomeroy, Solomon Por- 
ter, Nathan Johnson, Henry and Walter Keney, Julius Catlin, 
Roland Mather, George C. Collins, David Clark and Ellery Hills. 
Their capital was half a million and they were not asked to pro- 
vide a bonus. The same year the secretary of the treasury re- 
moved from Middletown to Hartford the United States depos- 
itory in lieu of a branch bank. James Dodd was the president of 
the new bank. 

President Jackson was beginning those attacks upon the fed- 
eral banking system which were to precipitate a great panic. The 
Government was inquiring to see how many state banks would 
receive Government deposits and render the service the United 
States Bank and its branches were now giving. The new bank 
was designated a branch bank. In another year, reviewing the 
"derangement of currency" and destruction of confidence which 
was producing industrial and commercial depression, the help- 
ful petition for a charter for the Exchange Bank, with half a 
million capital, was accepted (on the furnishing of the bonus 
previously referred to for the encouragement of the silk industry 
and the Capitol fence). Of this bank Roderick Terry was 

During the administration of Van Buren as well as of Jack- 
son, financial interests continued much disturbed, reaching one 
climax May 10, 1837, when specie payment had to be suspended. 
In following suit, as they were obliged to, the Hartford banks, 
preeminently sound, agreed to recognize each other's bills; they 
had $4 due them on every dollar outstanding. Although a year 
later, there was general resumption, the evil effects were felt 
for years. The State Bank (giving a bonus of $10,000 for the 


first normal school) and the City Bank were organized in 1849 
and 1851. In 1852 the Legislature followed the example of New 
York with an act to make banking free to anybody, securities to 
be deposited with the state against the circulation of the banks 
and the treasurer to issue the currency to the banks thus organ- 
ized. Three banks were established under this plan — the Bank 
of Hartford County (later the American National) in 1852, the 
Charter Oak in 1853 and the Mercantile in 1854. These banks 
were allowed to retain their charters under the old system by pay- 
ing a 2 per cent bonus in 1855 when this unsatisfactory law was 

Such was the demand for currency, especially for railroad 
building in the West, that the Connecticut banks passed through 
an experience exceedingly complimentary to them but a bit em- 
barrassing for their home patrons. The great promoters of roads 
pledged their all for loans of currency in the East, negotiating 
most of the loans in Hartford. They marked the Connecticut 
bills for identification, locked them up for convenient periods and 
shipped reimbursement when hearing that the currency had come 
in for redemption. This was convenient for the banks and the 
large borrowers but not for the local people, so in 1855 the Legis- 
lature put a stop to "protected circulation" and allowed the banks 
to loan out of the state not to exceed one-quarter of their capital, 
deposits and notes issued. Following this, the Aetna and the Mer- 
chants and Manufacturers (today the First National) obtained 
charters in the summer of 1857 with utmost encouragement but 
what proved to be on the very eve of the collapse of the highly 
speculative market when railroad securities dropped with the 
rest, failures were many and in this state alone outstanding cir- 
culation fell from ten millions to six. New York banks suspended 
specie payment in October, the Hartford banks, except the Con- 
necticut River, did the same the following day. At the critical 
moment the Bank Commissioners, by court direction, had brought 
the County, Charter Oak, Mercantile and Exchange Banks into 
the hands of receivers, and kept them there till wholly able to 
go on. With the resumption of specie payment in December, 
confidence returned and continued till the Civil war brought its 
terrors. Of the conduct of the Hartford banks in that tremen- 
dous emergency, Rowland Swift wrote: "To the extent of their 
utmost ability, they gave their cooperation at every issue upon 








the national credit ; and the same may be said of their ready help 
in every similar emergency of our own state." 

A bank was added to the county list in New Britain in 1860 
which reorganized as a national bank in 1865. The Merchants 
and Manufacturers became the First National under the na- 
tional currency act of that year, and soon after all the banks 
were in line except the State and the Connecticut River which re- 
tained their state charters. The Bank of Hartford County 
changed its name to the American National. The Suffield Na- 
tional Bank had come into existence in 1864. Twenty years 
later all the banks renewed their charters for a like term except 
the City which went back to the old form. 

The State Savings Bank was organized in 1858, the Mechan- 
ics in 1861, and the Dime in 1870, and all, as will be seen in these 
volumes, have buildings which, like the banks themselves, are a 
credit to the city. 





The revolution caused by steam was no less thrilling than 
that in the last days of the century caused by electricity and the 
automobiles. It aroused more combativeness. The first steam- 
boat to New York, in 1824, has been mentioned. The Jacob and 
Cornelius Vanderbilt line entered into competition and fought 
for supremacy for four years. The lines of packets to the more 
distant ports held their trade for a considerable time. By 1839 
when a railroad had been opened from Boston to Worcester, one 
could leave Hartford at 4 in the morning by coach to Worcester 
and be in Boston at 6 in the evening, "J. Goodwin Jr., & Com- 
pany, agents." Another favorite line was by coach to Albany 
and thence by boat to New York. Edson Fessenden was agent 
for the line as far as New Hartford. That year saw the steam 
road from New Haven to Hartford completed. Much printer's 
ink and oratory had been wasted by the turnpike men to pre- 
vent the granting of the charter ; the work had been opposed step 
by step. President Jackson himself had said that railroads would 
prove an evil because they would drive out horses. 

The crude road was completed to Springfield in 1844. The 
local station was on Little River at the foot of Mulberry Street, 
the Springfield line forming the north arm of a letter Y. Till 
the line from New York to New Haven was completed in 1848, 
passage from New Haven was by boat. The first Asylum Street 
station was opened in 1849. The road from New Haven to Plain- 
ville was completed in 1848 and through Farmington to Turner's 
Falls in 1881; that to Fenwick in 1872, and there were branch 
roads to Middletown, New Britain, Suffield and Canaan. The 


(Collection of Morgan B. Biainard) 




Manchester Railroad Company was incorporated in 1833 but this 
road east was not built till the Hartford & Providence secured 
the charter in 1847. A company for a New York line by way of 
Danbury merged with the Hartford & Providence (which was 
open to Willimantic in 1849), and carried the line through to 
Bristol in 1850; to Providence in 1854; to Waterbury in 1855, 
and was surrendered to trustees in 1858 who ran the line the fol- 
lowing twenty years. The Boston, Hartford & Erie, incorpo- 
rated in 1863, bought a majority of the stock of this Hartford, 
Providence & Fishkill, but did not cover the bonds. Three years 
later, with mortgage on the roads including the Hartford, Provi- 
dence & Fishkill arranged by the trustees, the Boston, Hartford 
& Erie issued $20,000,000 in bonds. These were subject to the 
first mortgage of the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill prior to 
the Boston, Hartford & Erie purchase. The trustees under the 
$20,000,000 or Berdell mortgage in 1871 took over the Boston, 
Hartford & Providence together with the right to wipe out the 
mortgage of the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill. In 1872 the 
Erie had completed the road through to Boston. The following- 
year the New York & New England was incorporated for the 
amount of the Berdell bonds and it bought all rights of redemp- 
tion of the Providence line. By borrowing of individuals it 
liquidated the first mortgage bonds of the Providence line and 
acquired the property. The road was put through to the Hudson 
in 1881. The returns being insufficient, the road went into the 
hands of a receiver — C. P. Clark, recently second vice president 
of the New York, New Haven & Hartford — December 31, 1883, 
and in two years was able to pay all obligations. Step by step the 
"New Haven" came to acquire all the roads in Southern New 
England and the control of the Connecticut Western (1872) 
which runs from Hartford to Rhinecliff on the Hudson. This 
includes Hartford to Winsted by way of Plainville, New Britain 
to Berlin, Hartford to Westfield, Mass., Hartford to Broad 
Brook, and Hartford to Tariffville and Suffield, and also the 
Hartford & New York Transportation Company or the line of 
freight and passenger steamers and tugs. Trolley and bus lines 
are likewise included. 

Such is the summary of many years of effort to keep pace with 
the rapidly increasing demands, of the competition for control 


and, by the same token, of the enormous amounts required for 
construction through the rough territory, involving at times the 
ruin of many individuals but, thanks to patience and courage, 
bringing everything through well for transportation and indus- 
try and retaining the management within the state. 

Many of the men foremost in banking, insurance and trade 
were intimately concerned in these enterprises. The "J. Good- 
win, Jr." (1803-1878), descendant of the early settler Ozias, and 
son of James, began his career as clerk for Joseph Morgan whose 
daughter Lucy he married. At twenty-one he had been propri- 
etor of the mail stages running east of Hartford, all of which and 
several others he disposed of when he entered into the railroad 
projects and became a director of the Hartford & New Haven. 
In insurance he was president of the Connecticut Mutual Life 
for many years and until his death and a director in the Hart- 
ford Fire, while at the same time associated with the leading in- 
dustries of the county, promoter of the hospital, trustee of Trin- 
ity College and vestryman in Christ Church. 

Joseph Morgan, in the line of the Springfield pioneer Miles 
Morgan and proprietor of the coffee house bearing his name, had 
been a promoter in banking and insurance. He married the 
daughter of Rev. John Pierpont of Boston whose name was 
hardly second to that of "Peter Parley" as a writer of books in 
general use in the schools but was to get still wider fame when 
given to descendants of Mr. Morgan of the third and fourth gen- 
erations. Joseph's son, Junius Spencer Morgan (1813-1900), 
soon after his birth came to Hartford with his father. After 
banking experience in Boston and New York he returned here as 
junior partner in the drygoods house of Howe, Mather & Com- 
pany and continued the business with J. M. Beebe and, in Bos- 
ton also, as Morgan & Company. In 1854 he was made junior 
partner of the firm of George Peabody & Company of London 
which, on the retirement of Mr. Peabody, was J. S. Morgan & 
Company, the great financial house continued by his sons and 
grandson. The part played by all of the family through these 
and the later years of the railroads was conspicuous. The section 
of Farmington Avenue in the vicinity of the present cathedral 
was known as Morgan's farms. There in 1840 Junius built a 
residence for his son, John Pierpont, who had been born in a 


Fugitive Slave Pastor Colored 
Congregation, 1833 



Pastor of the first Roman Catholic 

Church in Connecticut, 1837 

^RnfSs, .a 

*^^r »— - - ^nJ! 



f Jrgg: 



•■ ■-. ^ 



Installed pastor of the Fourth Con- 
gregational Church in 1846 


building recently replaced opposite the present Allyn House. It 
was in honor of his father that John Pierpont Morgan built the 
memorial here, described later on. 

Anson G. Phelps (1781-1853), of the firm of Phelps, Dodge 
& Company of New York when he died, was a native of Simsbury, 
a descendant of Rev. Timothy Woodbridge. Since 1815 he had 
been associated with Elisha Peck, also of Hartford, in the New 
York management of large packet lines. He had much to do 
with the transportation development in an advisory capacity, 
always with Hartford's interests at heart. Amos R. Eno and 
John J. Phelps, other natives of Simsbury — men who had been 
clerks in Caleb Goodwin's drygoods store here before they went 
to New York — were greatly interested. William H. Imlay (1780- 
1858), son of the very wealthy William Imlay of the earlier gen- 
eration, proprietor of Imlay's Mills and promoter of timber en- 
terprises in Michigan, subscribed $50,000 for the Hartford & 
Willimantic road, the largest of all the subscriptions. The tract 
of land known as Nook Farm he owned and sold in 1855 to Fran- 
cis Gillette and John Hooker (as elsewhere told) to develop. Sam- 
uel Tudor (1770-1862), with Philo Hillyer in the importing busi- 
ness, was an earnest supporter. 

Amos M. Collins (1788-1858), born in Litchfield and remem- 
bered best for his benefactions, of whom Doctor Bushnell said, 
"There is almost nothing here that has not felt somehow his 
power, nothing good which has not someway profited by his ben- 
eficence," was another who appreciated what the railroad must 
be to Hartford and worked for its development. His son, Wil- 
liam L. Collins (1812-1865), his partner in the mercantile busi- 
ness which later was Collins Brothers & Company, gave substan- 
tial endorsement as also to the street railway later and to the 
park system. Another son, Erastus, who carried the firm along 
to Collins, Fenn & Company, was no less enthusiastic in this than 
he was in organizing the city's charities. Henry A. Perkins 
(1801-1874), son of Enoch Perkins and president of the Hart- 
ford Bank from 1853 till his death, was a wise counsellor. 

Calvin Day (1803-1884) had helped make Hartford a great 
distributing center for drygoods, beginning when he arrived here 
in 1820. With his older brother Albert (lieutenant governor in 
1856) the firm name was A. & C. Day and at the time of his re- 

24— VOL. 1 


tirement in 1862, Day, Owen & Company. He was one of the 
prime movers in pursuing the very discouraging business of 
building the Providence road. In insurance and banking he also 
was prominent ; he was for years president of the School for the 
Deaf and for forty-two years was successively secretary and 
president of the Atheneum. Charles H. Northam (1797-1881) 
is a name still well remembered in the steamboat lines. Colches- 
ter was the place of his birth. Part of his life was spent in the 
West India trade, at one time in partnership with M. W. Cha- 
pin. When he took the Norfolk and Richmond line, Mr. Chapin 
continued the Philadelphia packets. During his presidency, the 
Connecticut River Steamboat Company gained in popularity. He 
was president of the Mercantile Bank from 1862 till his death. 
It was the period when Charles M. Beach (1826-1910) of West 
Hartford, son of George Beach, was building a dyestuffs trade 
with his two brothers, George and J. Watson. He continued in 
the firm of Beach & Company till his death, meantime establish- 
ing what is still one of the largest dairy farms in the county. His 
interests in manufacturing and in finance led him to association 
with those building the roads. William R. Cone, president of 
the Atheneum, the Retreat and the Aetna Bank, was general 
counsel for the "New Haven." 

There necessarily is frequent reference in the history of this 
interesting period to Rev. Dr. Horace Bushnell (1802-1876). 
With all his preeminence as a theologian, he concerned himself 
about everything that was for the advancement of the com- 
munity. His memory is preserved today by a grateful people in 
the name of its most central park and by his descendants in the 
name given the beautiful hall and auditorium now becoming a 
connecting link with the state group on Capitol Hill. He was 
born in New Preston. After graduating at Yale in 1827 he had 
experience in newspaper work and in teaching before returning 
to Yale as a tutor. His intention to study law was changed in 
1831 when he began to prepare for the ministry. Young as he 
was, the North Congregational Church called him in 1833 and in 
his twenty-six years of service there he held the love and loyalty 
of a unanimous membership even in days when others would have 




Rev. Dr. Edward Pond Parker speaking 


had him put outside the pale. He was once tried for heresy but 
the council would not convict him. When his physical condition 
compelled him to retire from the ministry, his congregation 
signed a paper pledging to support him whether he was able to 
work or not. His remaining years he devoted to writing the 
books which have given him such high standing in the world at 
large, especially his "Christian Nature," "Nature and the Super- 
natural," "God in Christ" and "Christ in Theology." Rev. Dr. 
George L. Clark in his history of Connecticut says: "It is 
scarcely too much to say that this commonwealth has produced 
more theologians than all the rest of the country," and among 
them he ranks Jonathan Edwards and Doctor Bushnell the fore- 
most. The North Church was organized in September, 1824, by 
members of the overcrowded First Church. (The third society 
from that church was the one that was formed in East Hartford.) 
The first house of worship for the North was at the corner of 
Main and Morgan streets whence it removed in 1866, during the 
pastorate of George B. Spalding, to a new edifice on Asylum 
Street at the corner of High, taking the name of Park Church. 
In 1899, as will be told, it combined with the Farmington Avenue 
Church, which had been the Pearl Street Church, and the name 
became Imanuel. 

After the First Church had built its present impressive edifice 
nearly on the site of the old one, in 1807, the people of the Second 
Church began to talk of doing likewise, but it was not till after 
the North Church had struck out for itself that the idea material- 
ized, during the pastorate of Rev. J. H. Lindley. The handsome 
new structure, on the corner of Main and Buckingham streets, 
was dedicated April 11, 1827, and though it has been visited with 
fires (serious ones in 1884 and 1922) it continues one of the 
most effective, architecturally and spiritually, in the state. 

The Fourth Congregational was the outcome in the early 
'30s of a missionary spirit during the great revival, together with 
the interest of those who felt they could not afford to pay the 
prices for pews in the older churches. Their first formal meet- 
ing place was in the former Baptist Church on Dorr (Market) 
Street. It was opened for services in January, 1831, and the 
church soon was joined by certain members from the sister 
churches which appreciated the service being rendered. It was 


called the Free Church. In 1838 it was necessary to begin rent- 
ing pews as there was a prejudice against paying nothing. The 
name Fourth Congregational was then taken. It removed to 
Main Street, north of Pratt, to what later was known as the Me- 
lodeon Building. In 1850, in the pastorate of Rev. William W. 
Patton, a large church was built on Main Street near Trumbull, 
to continue till in 1914 the present structure was erected at the 
corner of Albany Avenue and Vine Street, of choicest colonial 
design. The Talcott Street Church was organized in 1833, but 
had no regular pastor, ministers of the First and Second officiat- 
ing, till 1840 when Rev. J. W. C. Pennington was installed. 

Sumeld Baptists formed the first Baptist church at the home 
of John Bolles. Rev. Stephen Smith Nelson was the first pastor, 
in 1796, and the first church was built at the corner of Temple 
and Market streets. A new church was erected on Main Street 
later Tuoro Hall — in 1831. The next removal was to the 
large brownstone edifice at the corner of Main and Morgan 
streets which was adequate for the increasing membership till 
the Central Baptist Church was built on Main and Elm streets 
in 1927. Meantime the South Baptist had been organized in 
1834 and during the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Gustavus F. Davis 
had been brought into high place in the community. Its first 
building was at the corner of Main and Sheldon streets; its sec- 
ond, with stately spire, north of the old site on Main Street. 
These two churches united to build the Central Church. 

The new edifice for Christ Church in 1821 has been men- 
tioned. St. John's Church was built in 1842; Bishop Williams 
was consecrated there in 1851. The church was torn down in 
1907 to make way for the Civic Group and a new one built, far 
out on Farmington Avenue, which with its new addition is one of 
the most attractive in the county. St. Paul's Church was built in 
1854 as a missionary enterprise — work which later was divided 
among all the Episcopal churches. Trinity parish was estab- 
lished in 1859 and for its use the Unitarian Church on Asylum 
Street was moved to Sigourney Street. The chancel was added 
in 1875 and the rectory in 1882. During the incumbency of Rev. 
Francis Goodwin, from 1865 to 1871, a chapel was built for the 
mission. An Episcopal Sunday School developed into the parish 
of the Church of the Good Shepherd to which Mrs. Samuel Colt 




in 1867 gave the artistic edifice in the neighborhood of Colt's fac- 
tory in memory of her husband, and afterward the parish 
house in memory of her son, Commodore Caldwell Colt. The 
church had the first chimes in the city. Rev. Prof. J. T. Hunt- 
ington started a Sunday School in the cabinet of Trinity College 
which developed into a parish known as St. James' after 1878 
with edifice at the corner of Park and Washington streets, dedi- 
cated in 1868. The mission in the north part of the city led to 
the building in 1872 of St. Thomas' Church on land given by 
Mrs. William Mather as a memorial to Bishop Brownell. Gen- 
eral institutions were developed, all contributing to the advance- 
ment of the church and the community, like the Widows' Home 
on Market Street, gift of George Beach in 1860; the Church 
House, Bellevue Street, 1876; church schools; the Church City 
Mission Society, 1850, and the Church Guild of Hartford, 1867. 
Methodism was introduced by Rev. Jesse Lee and others and 
in 1790 the first society was formed here. Interest waned till 
1820 when Evangelist J. N. Maffit came, a chapel was built at 
the corner of Trumbull and Chapel streets and Benoni English 
was appointed pastor. A church was built on Asylum Street in 
1860, predecessor of the structure on the corner of Farmington 
Avenue and South Whitney Street, dedicated in 1905. The 
North Methodist began with a chapel on Windsor Avenue in 
1871 ; the cornerstone of its present building on the corner of 
Albany Avenue and Woodland Street was laid in December, 1919. 
The South Park Methodist Church was organized in 1869 as a 
mission and its church near Barnard Park was built in 1875. 
The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1836 
and its church was built in 1857 on the Pearl Street site now 
occupied by the Fire Department's main building. While there 
had been meetings of Universalists, at the State House and else- 
where since the 1790s, the Rev. Richard Carrique in 1821 began 
with services there and sometimes in the Second Church, whose 
members voted that there should not be such preaching regu- 
larly. Thereupon sixty members of the church joined with the 
Universalists in erecting their building on Central Row in 1822. 
The dedication sermon was preached by Hosea Ballou. The edi- 
fice, the Church of the Redeemer, opposite the First Church, on 


Main Street, was built in 1860, and the cruciform edifice on Asy- 
lum Hill in 1906. 

In April, 1830, a Unitarian Association was formed by promi- 
nent men at the residence of James H. Wells. The First Uni- 
tarian Congregational Society was organized in July, 1844, and 
Rev. Joseph Harrington was the first minister. The church, 
which was built in 1845 at the northeast corner of Asylum and 
Trumbull streets, was the one which was removed, stone by stone, 
in 1860, for building Trinity Church. In 1879 the society was 
reorganized and Unity Church and Hall was built on Pratt 
Street. Now the house of worship is on Pearl Street. 

Those of Presbyterian convictions in the Congregational 
churches held their first assemblage in Washington Temperance 
Hall in 1850. In 1852 the former South Baptist Church, at the 
corner of Main and Sheldon streets, was bought, during the pas- 
torate of Rev. Thomas S. Childs. Ten years later, because musi- 
cal instruments had been introduced, part of the congregation 
left to form the United Presbyterian Church, which, however, 
was continued only seven years, most of the members returning. 
Interest being revived under the pastorate of Rev. J. Aspinwall 
Hodge, a new stone church was built on the corner of College 
(now Capitol Avenue) and Clinton Street in 1870. 

This summary denotes not only the increase and variety of in- 
terest in religious matters during the comparatively long period 
of peace but also the increase in numbers and wealth and the 
diversification in population. Very strong evidence of this is fur- 
nished in the firm, constant development of the Roman Catholic 
Church which, despite the loyalty and high standing of many 
of its members in the trying times of the Revolution, had been 
judged more or less in the light of colonial experiences with its 
French representatives in Canada. New England naturally in- 
herited more of this criticism than the colonies further south. 
The first diocesan see in America was established in Baltimore 
in 1789. Boston was one of the four sees when in 1843 Connecti- 
cut and Rhode Island were made a new diocese. Hartford was 
designated the episcopal city and Bishop William Tyler came 
here in April, 1844, but in a few months obtained permission to 
remove the residence to the larger city of Providence. In Con- 




necticut there were three priests, four church buildings and 
about 5,000 communicants, most of them Irish but a number of 
them, like Bishop Tyler, New England converts from Protes- 

When Rochambeau's forces were halting in East Hartford, in 
1781, Abbe Robin had celebrated mass in the Colt meadows, the 
first service of the kind in the county. In 1813, on invitation of 
Rev. Dr. Strong, Rev. Dr. Matignon, a refugee from France, then 
stationed at Boston and stopping over on a journey to New York, 
had preached at the First Church on a Sunday evening. When 
Bishop Chevrus came here in 1823, Col. James Ward and Sam- 
uel Tudor had obtained permission for him to hold services in the 
State House. Rev. R. D. Woodley who came as the first resident 
priest in Connecticut, in 1828, was a nephew of Bishop Fenwick 
of Boston. The parish jurisdiction extended into Vermont and 
New Hampshire. In 1830 Rev. James Fitton was the appointed 

The building Christ Church was about to replace in 1828 was 
moved to the north side of Talcott Street and, under the title of 
the Most Holy Church of the Trinity, was made the first Catholic 
church in the state. A parochial school and a Catholic journal 
were instituted, the journal to go to Philadelphia as the Catholic 
Herald in 1832. There was unceasing activity. A residence was 
built for Father Brady, a cemetery was provided at the western 
end of North Cemetery and temperance and literary societies 
organized. St. Patrick's Church at the corner of Church and 
Ann streets was built in 1849. A convent was established near 
the present cathedral in 1855, with the Sisters of Mercy in 
charge. James Hughes as vicar-general came from Providence 
in 1854. Among his first works was the building of an orphan 
asylum near the church, another for boys, and a parochial school. 
Bishop Francis P. McFarland divided the city into north and 
south parishes in 1859 and, the old South Side schoolhouse having 
been bought, Rev. Peter Kelly who had been appointed at the 
same time, was immediately in charge of the new parish of St. 
Peter's. It was in the pastorate of Rev. John Lynch, in 1865, 
that a stone church was built around this wooden one, and the 
ample provisions for a constantly growing parish have been pro- 
vided from time to time ever since. Bishop McFarland in 1872 



removed his residence to Hartford when the new diocese of Provi- 
dence was created, to embrace Rhode Island and part of Massa- 
chusetts, and made his home on the corner of Woodland and Col- 
lins streets. That summer he bought a site for the cathedral, a 
portion of the Morgan farm then owned by Maj. James Good- 
win. The cornerstone was laid the next year and the chapel com- 
pleted the following year, after which the parish of St. Joseph's 
was formed. All the other features of the great work which had 
been inaugurated were progressing rapidly when Bishop McFar- 
land, now sainted in local memory, died. October 12, 1874. The 
following era falls within the later review in these volumes. 

The Jews are first mentioned in the town records of 1661. 
The few of the faithful here in 1847 organized as the Congrega- 
tion Beth Israel, established their first church at the corner of 
Main and Wells streets and later acquired the building from 
which the Baptists had removed in 1831. This was named Tuoro 
Hall. It was on the site of the present Brown, Thomson & Com- 
pany building which was built in the '70s as the Cheney Build- 
ing, the largest and finest structure of its kind in the city for 
many years. The synagogue on Charter Oak Street carries on 
the history to the later era. 





In these days of marvelous facilities for quick communication 
and rapid transportation by land, sea and air, one may not won- 
der that individual men can be concerned in many enterprises, 
and one is prone to visualize the mid-century founders of many 
of the institutions today as gentlemen of comparative leisure with 
mind and effort directed toward some one particular thing. It 
cannot be harmful — other than to this or that one's personal 
pride — to observe that the standard for multiplicity and variety 
of interests, and saying nothing of the great political and eco- 
nomic problems of government, was at least as high and remark- 
able as at any time since those '30s to '60s of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The list of names was short compared with what was 
evolved. And of what was evolved, nothing since the Constitu- 
tion has brought the city greater fame than insurance. It re- 
quired no favor of climate or commercial location; it required 
genius, of course, for it was a new thing, but it required also 
financial courage, a strict abstention from plunging and the 
power and will to fulfill promise. 

The history of each company today has been written volumi- 
nously and in technical detail, marking each its own triumphal 
progress; the object of town and county history is to mark the 
still greater wonder of the blending in. The '30s to '60s show it. 
They show T also the learning of fundamental lessons so essential 
to today's successful science. These are the features, with some 
of the leading names, that should here be stressed, the story of 
the origin of fire insurance and the first tw T o companies having 
already been told. 

The Protection was incorporated in 1825. Like the other 
stock companies, only enough cash capital need be paid in to pro- 



vide equipment and grease the wheels; the balance was paid in 
notes. Premiums could cover the losses, which were never heavy 
or bunched; little reserve was required, for staunch banks were 
under the same control as these companies; so the profits could 
go forth at once as dividends ! The start was auspicious, among 
the directors being such men as Solomon Porter, W. W. Ells- 
worth, James B. Hosmer, Nathan Morgan and Roderick Terry, 
with Ellsworth as president. Lawyer Thomas C. Perkins was 
secretary. David F. Robinson and Eliphalet Averill were later 
presidents. Mark Howard worked out a plan for remote agen- 
cies. Heavy losses were met, but in 1854 there had to be sur- 
render to wrong methods. 

Mutual companies were being formed around the country. 
The idea was satisfactory till members had to be assessed; then 
the company mortality was excessive. The Hartford County Mu- 
tual was organized in 1831, David Grant president and Charles 
Shepard secretary. In cases of necessity they did not assess, they 
found the money — and they were cautious in their risks. The 
company continues today, more popular than ever and one of the 
few mutuals to survive. D. D. Erving was successively secre- 
tary and president from 1863 till his death in 1925, a record 
unexcelled in the country. The City Fire took a charter as a 
mutual company but changed to stock and organized in 1853, 
Ralph Gillett accepting the presidency. Leverett Brainard came 
here to be secretary, resigning in 1858 to enter the partnership of 
Case, Lockwood & Company, publishers. The company kept in 
good condition but the Chicago fire was its undoing. 

The dangers of the hand-to-mouth methods caused a reorgan- 
ization of the Hartford Fire in 1835. Eliphalet Terry, cousin of 
Nathaniel, was made president. That same year came the New 
York fire. Many companies announced their inability to pay. 
With the thermometer below zero, Terry drove to New York in 
an open sleigh during the night following the fire and proclaimed 
that his company would pay every claim in cash. The money 
taken in for new premiums was equal to the amount paid out. 
There was the same fortitude when the company lost nearly 
$2,000,000 in the Chicago fire, once again in the Boston fire the 
next year (1872), and finally in the San Francisco horror when 
the loss was $350,000,000. Hezekiah Huntington and Timothy 


First president of the 

Connecticut Mutual Life 

Insurance Company 


President of the Connecti- 
cut Mutual Life Insurance 
Company 1866-69, and 
conspicuous in life insur- 
ance in early days 



C. Allyn were the presidents of this company preceding the 
coming of George L. Chase of the later period. The Aetna was 
paying an 18 per cent dividend when the New York fire occurred. 
Staking his own fortune, President Thomas K. Brace encour- 
aged his associates till the last claim was paid, as was to be the 
case in the subsequent disasters, for the stock-note system 
had been ended forever in 1849, and in the early 1900s the capi- 
tal was to be $5,000,000, the largest in the world at that time. 
The company was true to that thoroughness which was mentioned 
in the account of its earlier days. Edwin G. Ripley who suc- 
ceeded Mr. Brace in the presidency of 1857 was among the lead- 
ers in establishing the city reservoir idea. T. A. Alexander, L. J. 
Hendee and Jotham Goodnow followed till William B. Clark was 
promoted to the office in 1892. 

Of the fire insurance companies that survived the old stock- 
note days, the Connecticut Fire was third in order, organized in 
1850 with Benjamin W. Greene as president and resolved to take 
only select risks. Again, in the list of directors, are names asso- 
ciated with those of various companies, industries, banks, philan- 
thropies and public affairs — James B. Hosmer, Julius Catlin, 
David F. Robinson, Joseph Trumbull (governor in 1849), Har- 
vey Seymour, Edwin D. Morgan, James Dixon (senator in 1857- 
1869), Edmund G. Howe, Tertius Wadsworth, Timothy M. 
Allyn, John L. Bunce and Edson Fessenden. Martin Bennett's 
name was added to this notable list when he became secretary 
in 1860. 

The Phoenix (fire) joined the group in 1854, through the 
efforts of Henry Kellogg of East Hartford who had been a book- 
keeper in the Connecticut Mutual and would accept only the sec- 
retaryship in the new company, of which Nathaniel H. Morgan, 
head of the Hartford Trust Company, was chosen presiding 
officer till Simeon L. Loomis could be called from New York 
where he had gone to help establish the Home. Much of the busi- 
ness of the defunct Protection came to the Phoenix. At the time 
of the Chicago fire Governor Marshall Jewell, a director, went to 
that city and, mounting a packing box, declared that the company 
would pay every claim ; the announcement, heralded through the 
press, restored confidence. There was similar evidence of de- 
pendability at Boston and at San Francisco. 

The Merchants, chartered in 1857, had the backing of such 


men as Samuel Woodruff, James Bolter, Ebenezer Roberts, Guy 
R. Phelps, W. H. D. Callender, Charles T. Hillyer, Richard D. 
Hubbard and William L. Collins, and Mark Howard was its pres- 
ident. The loss at Chicago was five times the capital. President 
Howard and Secretary James Nichols, formerly judge of pro- 
bate, thereupon formed the National with an unutilized charter 
granted in 1869. From this developed the powerful company of 

The North American, 1857, carried on till the Chicago fire. 
The New England in 1858 and the Union in 1859 were crushed 
by the adverse conditions of the war period. The Charter Oak 
Fire and Marine, 1856, ended with the Chicago fire; the endeavor 
to revive it as the Atlas was futile. The Putnam, 1864, was 
born in a period of speculation and folly and did not long survive." 

To a life insurance world like this of today, the conditions so 
late as the time we are considering are incredible. The primitive 
idea of taking no thought of the morrow had been so misinter- 
preted in the religious confusions of the middle ages that it had 
become sanctified in the minds of the devout, and to insure one's 
life was sacrilegious. How in half a century insurance was ele- 
vated to a position next to that of the church itself is a story with 
but few equals in the history of civilization. In Hartford, Dr. 
Pinckney W. Ellsworth and James L. Howard were missionaries 
of the Prince of Darkness rather than ministers for the good of 
the race. Howard had secured a policy in a New Jersey company 
when he set up an office and began his preachings. Dr. Guy R. 
Phelps, who had come from Simsbury to open a drug store, and 
Elisha A. Pratt gave encouraging attention, and soon other men 
who were accepting fire insurance as a matter of course were 
studying possibilities. Under Phelps' leadership these men, with 
President Brace of the Aetna, Judge Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, Dr. 
David S. Dodge, Edson Fessenden, Nathan M. Waterman and 
others, secured in 1846 a charter for the Connecticut Mutual Life 
Insurance Company. Bulkeley was chosen president and Phelps 

Judge Bulkeley, born in Colchester in 1824, one of the dis- 




■XL' *>jii 



Ev*lT^7 ^Bf 

■ t v^ 

2-^5L its 


Is apparently on village green in front of the 
church. The high-hatted insurance man hands a 
bag of gold to a widow and her little ones who are 
absorbed in watching the bird in the foreground 
burn. This illustration is taken from cover of 
Phoenix Mutual pamphlet as example of "Publicity" 
of the times 



tinguished Gershom Bulkeley family and starting as lawyer and 
banker in East Haddam, had come to Hartford in 1847. He 
served successively as first judge of the police court, school fund 
commissioner and speaker of the House. There is significance in 
the fact that this first company was mutual ; it meant apprecia- 
tion of the popular repugnance to be overcome and of the neces- 
sity of avoiding the appearance of money-making. The whole 
town was watching and when the doors were opened December 
11, 1846, there were applications for $100,000 insurance. The 
rest of the story of Hartford life insurance is the story of lessons 
learned in handling vast sums and fixing premiums on a scien- 
tific basis, of constant remembrance of the high purpose of in- 
surance and of enlisting the genius of men whose type already 
had given Hartford its high position. Among his other positions, 
Judge Bulkeley held that of counsel for the Aetna. After two 
years of the presidency he made way for Maj. James Goodwin 
whose career has been sketched in the preceding chapter. Re- 
turns to faithful policyholders were found possible each year on 
an arbitrary schedule of "dividends" till 1869 when actuarial 
science had developed the distribution plan of Shepard Homans. 
Thenceforth premiums and returns were based upon carefully 
analyzed mortality experiences in insurance and upon propor- 
tionate sharing in investment earnings. Major Goodwin was 
succeeded by Doctor Phelps in 1866 but was recalled on the doc- 
tor's death in 1869. It was a wild period of speculation through 
which he piloted the company with great ability till his death 
in 1878 when Col. Jacob L. Greene came to succeed him. 

Hartford would not have been true to Yankee-land had there 
not been in this formative period exploration for new fields for 
insurance. In 1848, following a conception in the office of the 
Connecticut Mutual, a company was formed for health insur- 
ance, only to find, however, that that uncharted sea was alto- 
gether too dangerous. By 1852 the company had changed to reg- 
ular insurance, under the name of the Hartford Life, and tried, 
fatally, a plan to insure shiploads of slaves and coolies. A better 
venture was one in 1865 when Doctor Phelps of the Connecticut 
Mutual secured action on his belief that something could be done 
for those who did not come up to the medical requirements for 
regular insurance, and the Connecticut General Life was 
launched with $500,000 capital and such strong men as John M. 


Niles, Edward W. Parsons and Thomas W. Russell to conduct it. 
The directorate included E. K. Kellogg, G. D. Jewett, James G. 
Batterson, Charles M. Pond, Leverett Brainard, William G. Al- 
len, Francis B. Cooley, Charles T. Webster and Henry J. John- 
son. It soon was proved that there were not enough sub-standard 
risks willing to be classified as such, so another idea that has 
been well worked out in modern times had to be relegated. In 
1867 the company began to confine itself to first-class risks and 
developed into the great corporation it is today — as will appear. 
Mr. Russell's is one of the foremost names in insurance. 

Another fascinating experiment was that undertaken by the 
American Temperance Life in 1851. The most systematic of all 
the national temperance waves was then at its height. The 
Fountain, published on Pearl Street under the editorship of Ben- 
jamin E. Hale of Glastonbury, was one of the conspicuous organs 
in the land. Statistics were obtained to show that "teetotalers" 
lived longest; hence they should have a lower insurance rating. 
Former Chief Justice Thomas S. Williams, Barzillai Hudson of 
Courant prestige, Francis Parsons, leader in law and public serv- 
ice, James B. Hosmer, philanthropist, Tertius Wadsworth of the 
Connecticut Fire, Albert Day, John H. Goodwin and the ubiqui- 
tous Edson Fessenden (who, with his other functions, was now 
proprietor of the Eagle Hotel, clubhouse for men of affairs) en- 
tered earnestly into the plan, with Hudson as president — later 
Fessenden. In determining losses, trouble developed in ascer- 
taining whether a policyholder had kept his pledge. An encour- 
agingly large business was done by near-and-far apostles of tem- 
perance and on what was then considered a mutual basis. With 
the subsidence of the wave and the approach of the war, how- 
ever, wisdom dictated a change in name to the Phoenix Mutual 
Life so well known in the field of insurance today. President 
Archibald A. Welch and his associates discriminate against 
"drinking men" but with a scientific criterion in this as in all 
other features of the modern carefully built-up and universally 
accepted standard. 

The result of later experiments in three other directions — 
accident, assessment and explosion — will be taken up in chrono- 
logical order; the seething period of the '50s is not yet covered. 

When the Aetna was chartered in 1819, there was a gambling 




form of life insurance in England — the Lloyds, not for protec- 
tion for dependents — and also another for annuities. By mar- 
velous prescience, the incorporators of the Aetna provided in 
their charter not only for annuities but for the then taboo life 
insurance. Judge Bulkeley on returning to the company after 
his favorable experience in the Connecticut Mutual looked up 
this forgotten provision and on June 6, 1850, the foundations 
were laid for the great Aetna Life Insurance Company of the 
years to come. It first was an appendage of the Aetna (fire), 
but the wise principle of keeping fire and life separate caused the 
individual incorporation under present name in 1853, with the 
judge entering upon his long career as president. The conspicu- 
ous names of promoters were Austin Dunham, Mark Howard, 
John Warburton, Roland Mather, Simeon L. Loomis, John W. 
Seymour and W. H. D. Callender, and, as in the case of the other 
companies, many as they were, there was no dearth of subscrip- 
tions. All of the company stocks were much over-subscribed. 
Within six years the company had to seek quarters of its own, 
and located at the corner of Main Street and Central Row, and 
the principle of mutuality was added to that of stock-company in- 

In life insurance, the Charter Oak and the Continental were 
established in 1850 and 1862 respectively. There could have 
been no more enthusiasm than that aroused for the former of 
these ill-fated concerns. Gideon Welles was the first president, 
and his board included Calvin Day, Tertius Wadsworth, Thomas 
Belknap, James G. Bolles, John A. Butler and Lucius F. Robin- 
son, 1st. Mr. Welles was succeeded by James C. Walkley. 
Thomas W. Russell was at one time vice president. The com- 
pany did a large and high-class business but bad management 
developed and the end was as described later on. The Continen- 
tal started with an equally good opportunity but at an unfortu- 
nate time. John S. Rice of Farmington was the first president 
and Samuel E. Elmore secretary. Mr. Elmore became presi- 
dent in 1870, following which time internal wrangling increased 
and methods were resorted to which brought the downfall later 


No less impressive than in insurance was the world name 
being made through industries. The romance of the evolution 
of Colt's revolvers, and again of the Gatling's and the Brown- 
ing's, has been translated into many languages, for all of the 
battling world is concerned. Samuel Colt, son of Christopher 
Colt, a manufacturer in Ware, Mass., and grandson of Maj. John 
Caldwell, was born in Hartford in 1814 and could have been a 
gentleman of leisure. The sea attracted him as a boy. He sailed 
to distant ports and employed his spare time making a wooden 
model of a repeater pistol. On his return he gave laughing-gas 
exhibitions to secure independently the money to push his device. 
Our Government not interested, he went to Europe to secure a 
patent and encouragement, after which, in 1835, a patent was 
secured at Washington, a factory was set up at Paterson, N. J., 
and he was seeking a market. The Government still indifferent, 
the factory had to close in 1842, but not till it had turned out 
enough weapons to attract attention in the Seminole war. To 
quiet his uneasy mind, he laid the first submarine telegraph cable 
to Coney Island. At the outbreak of the Mexican war, the Gov- 
ernment ventured an order for a thousand revolvers at $24 each. 
To make these he rented rooms of the Whitney Arms Company 
in New Haven but soon removed to quarters on Pearl Street in 
Hartford. His faith confirmed by the news from the battlefields, 
he exercised his natural foresight and, incorporating, bought a 
site of 250 acres near where the old Dutch fort had stood, diked 
it, built large buildings, devised much of his own machinery for 
making tools, assembled skilled mechanics — importing many 
from Switzerland and building a street of Swiss cottages for 
them near his grove of willow trees where, out of mill hours, they 
could fashion very marketable baskets — and was well prepared 
when the Civil war made its demand. His own services he offered 
as colonel of "Colt's Rifles" but fortunately, perhaps, nature had 
given him a dictatorial nature, the plan fell through and he re- 
turned to the place where he was most needed. He died in the 
moment of greatest success, in 1862. He had been welcomed and 
honored in all the capitals of Europe and had had the unprece- 
dented distinction of addressing the English House of Commons. 

Building for the future in more ways than one he had gath- 
ered around him men who could carry on, like Elisha K. Root, 



one of the most accomplished mechanics of the time, who suc- 
ceeded him in the presidency, and when the fire of 1864 was 
wiping out $1,200,000 worth of the great plant, President Root 
was designing the replacement. Another permanent principle 
Colonel Colt had instilled and Mr. Root had cultivated was that 
only first-class men should be engaged and that they should be 
inspired to keep on learning. General Franklin, as told elsewhere, 
assisted in carrying on the famous institution after his war serv- 
ice. Among other prominent men who have helped make it what 
it is today was John H. Hall (1849-1902) who had made his name 
in enterprises by building up the Pickering Governor Company 
and then the Shaler & Hall Quarry Company in his native town 
of Portland when called to take charge of Colt's in 1888 and later 
to become president, as which he continued till his death. By his 
remarkable insight and ability he reorganized the concern on the 
permanent basis it ever since has enjoyed. 

As in the World war, Hartford genius was in demand by the 
Government when the war came. Christian Sharps in 1848 had 
invented the breach-loading rifle and in 1851 had incorporated 
and then had built on Capitol Avenue a factory which had to run 
day and night to meet the requirements for guns each of which 
was worth ten men. Christopher M. Spencer of Manchester and 
Hartford, driver of a self-made steam vehicle, inventor of a 
screw-making machine which revolutionized that industry, and 
at one time the junior partner in Billings & Spencer, drop forgers, 
had invented his repeating rifle, the first of which were carried 
by a Massachusetts company in 1861. Pratt & Whitney were 
meeting new requirements for tools of marvelous accuracy. The 
Gardner machine guns were to be made there in the '80s and the 
company was to contract to furnish equipment for arsenals in the 
Orient and elsewhere. Colt's was doing the first drop forging. The 
Phoenix Iron Works, predecessor of the present Taylor & Fenn, 
was furnishing Colt's with special machinery and tools. Wood- 
ruff boilers for naval vessels were made by the Beach concern. 

A. F. Cushman in 1830 was turning out the Cushman chuck, 
indispensable to good workmanship. The same year the first 
hooks and eyes were made here by Levi Lincoln. D. W. Kellogg 
was the first commercial lithographer, in 1832. Austin Dunham, 
in 1854, had organized the Willimantic Linen Company to sup- 


ply the humble but important item of cotton thread — a concern 
which by 1876 was to lead all others in the country. Ebenezer 
N. Kellogg had been the one to introduce the scouring of wool in 
1841, and with Austin Dunham, D. P. Crosby and Ezra White 
had built a great industry with a plant in Windsor Locks. The 
first electro-plating had been done by Asa H. Williams and Sim- 
eon S. Rogers in a Hartford cellar in 1856. Nearly all the clocks 
in the country were made in this county. Steam heat with grav- 
ity return was being employed. The first galvanized water pipes 
were in use. Henry and J. F. Pitkin of East Hartford were 
making the first American watches in 1834 and Alonzo D. Phil- 
lips was the first to get a patent on friction matches. In 1837, 
George and John Abbe Burnham of East Hartford, in a shop 
near old South Green, made the first oilcloth. 

Pliny Jewell in 1845 removed his primitive leather-belting 
business from New Hampshire and began a plant on Trumbull 
Street near Little River which was to develop into the largest in 
the world by the time of the war. His four sons were associated 
with him — Pliny, Marshall, Lyman B. and Charles A., all of 
whom, as will be seen, were to be prominent in city and state 
affairs. And a little later, in 1863, the then most popular sewing 
machine was being made at the rate of 2,000 a day by G. F. 
Weed's company at present Capitol Avenue and Broad Street. 

Some of the most important of the things these men of in- 
tense activity did are yet to be considered, but it must not be lost 
sight of that they were not too absorbed in their banking, insur- 
ance, railroading, manufacturing and commercial affairs to give 
heed to the town's requirements. To mention some of the re- 
quirements might give the impression that the men had been 
heedless previously, but to this it can be said that in the reforms 
they were now inaugurating they were ahead of most communi- 
ties of their size. 

Amusingly primitive conditions as to water and fires have 
been referred to. Horace Bushnell first voiced and then in 1847 
preached public sentiment from his pulpit, taking "Prosperity 
Our Duty" for his subject. These underground cisterns, of 
which there were then twenty-one, had been reinforced for a time 
by a piping (or logging) system, of distressing incompleteness. 
Logs with two-inch holes bored through them lengthwise brought 


President of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, Hart- 
ford. Mayor, 1880-1888; Governor, 1889-1893; United 
States Senator, 1895-1911 

tttl 1 ' fllBfH 'ii- 1 

it Tin ii ii_ .lyumiiw- 

h pirn ujMil^^HQnij yfll I 

Wadsworth Atheneum on the right 


the water from Cedar Hill and vicinity down under Park River 
and along Pearl and Main streets with side branches for those 
whose well water was unsatisfactory. This system was aban- 
doned before 1850. Somehow talk of a water supply never had 
been popular since the Hartford Aqueduct Company was organ- 
ized in 1797 — and stopped. How the wonderful Enfield canal 
and reservoir proposition had died has been told. In 1851 Joseph 
Trumbull was among those who felt something must be done at 
once. He was grandson of Jonathan Trumbull, had served as 
president of the Hartford Bank and had just finished his term as 
governor. He with Calvin Day, E. K. Root, Thomas Belknap 
and others incorporated as a private company and began ar- 
ranging for a pumping station. The people, feeling that this 
was too great a trust for a private concern or for management 
by the Common Council, secured in place of this charter an enact- 
ment giving custody and power to a board of commissioners, sub- 
ject in certain particulars to the council. (Later, when the board 
was doing a large business and some tried to have the power 
vested in the council, there was protest by the "best and most 
intelligent citizens" — to quote R. D. Hubbard — and the proposi- 
tion was laughed out of court. ) The first board consisted of Ezra 
Clark, Jr., E. K. Root, E. M. Reed, Daniel Phillips and Hiram 
Bissell. The preparations made by the private company were ap- 
proved and pushed. The board's first report to the council was 
so caustic that the council refused to accept it — but 500 copies 
were published the next year ; for, after seven years Doctor Bush- 
nell's adjurations had had effect. Water in 1855 was pumped 
from the Connecticut to an artificial reservoir on the top of Lord's 
Hill where now are the tennis courts of the Hartford Fire Insur- 
ance Company. 

The intervening years had been full of trouble, if not graft- 
ing. There was great waste, much expense, and at best only a 
week's supply could be stored. The wranglings continued mo- 
notonously after 1860 and courts were resorted to, to culminate, 
however, in the purchase of eighty acres in West Hartford and 
the damming of Trout Brook for the first of the present remark- 
able chain of reservoirs. There were still more battles, in Legis- 
lature and Common Council, so it was not till July, 1865, that the 
water began to flow cityward. The reservoir was five miles 


from the city's center, 260 feet above low water, covering thirty- 
two acres and holding 145,000,000 gallons. Fortunately the 
pumping station was not dismantled; it had to be resorted to 
several times before 1900. In less than a year after the first 
dam was built and before the second was completed, a heavy rain 
carried both of them away. Other reservoirs were added in 
1869, 1875, 1879 and 1884, which brings the subject down to the 
modern well supported, well regulated and highly meritorious 
progress. Meters began to be introduced in the early '80s. 

The night patrol early in the century, previously referred to, 
was supported in large part by the insurance men, and the Hart- 
ford Fire provided a salvage service. In 1820 when the "watch" 
was increased to five men to walk nightly, at $1 a night, this 
company paid so much of the bill that no tax was called for, till 
1822. One of the statements of loss approved by the company 
about this time reveals how particular the claimants had to be. 
It is the statement of Joseph Wheeler of Hartford : 

32 squares glass broke paid for setting and mending 

frames $ 4.50 

1 Bed Stead sides and end pieces gone and rope 2.00 

1 silk umbrella (new) lost 5.00 

1 sett castors cost 12 dolls, damage done, say 4.00 

1 salt cellar broke, 1.50, 2 or 3 Tumblers broke 2.00 

Damage done paint on house, Barn etc 18.00 

Deduct Umbrella 5.00 

Clock key lost .50 

Policy 794. Paid in full, Dec. 7, 1819. 
A more serious memorandum, and one giving a glimpse of the 
reading of the day, is as follows : 

1,000 President's Tour at $1.25 ^$1,250 

500 Memoirs of Jackson ___ 625 

800 Labourne's Campaigns at $2.25 1,800 

5 Setts Scott's Bible 160 

500 Uncle Sam in Search after His Lost honor 

at 50c ___ 250 

One of the first and largest of the steam fire engines 



The first tax for fire apparatus and cisterns was £300 in 1789, 
when Miles Beach was made chief of the watch. Later, by 
authority of the Legislature thirty men were chosen out of the 
militia to serve in two companies. By 1835 the number had been 
increased to 400 — population 10,000. Chief Beach was succeeded 
by James Ward in 1805 and during his term a hook and ladder 
was added to the equipment of buckets. This was followed by a 
double-deck engine, worked by forty men, in 1815, by a sack and 
bucket company furnished by the insurance company in 1816 
and a hose company in 1821 with Nathan Ruggles as foreman. 
The first parade was a gala occasion in 1827; water was pumped 
by hand-pumps through the hose. Every man must attend a fire 
and remain till it was extinguished. The insurance company 
contributed $30 toward a hand engine in 1834 at which time 
there was a reorganization and a chief engineer was appointed 
to have control both of the volunteers and of the men designated 
to respond to alarms. Mayor Thomas S. Williams had given an 
engine so that in all there were six for Chief Engineer William 
Hayden to command. From 1836 till recent times balls were 
given and aid otherwise solicited to maintain the Firemen's Be- 
nevolent Society. Fire escapes were introduced in 1840. In 
1848 designated firemen were allowed $5 a year. 

The first steam engine was procured in 1861, against the ad- 
vice of Chief Edward Norton. Four years later the hand engines 
had become antiquities. The fire board on practically its present 
basis was resolved upon in 1864, but it was not till 1871 that the 
appointive power was given to the mayor, subject to aldermanic 
approval. The first self-propelled engine — and one of the first 
in the country as well as the largest — was "Jumbo," bought in 
1876, and it was all that the famous Chief Henry J. Eaton (ap- 
pointed in 1868) could do to keep his no less famous white horse 
ahead of it. The latest and most important addition to the de- 
partment's many buildings is the recently completed headquar- 
ters on Pearl Street. For many years alarms were sounded on a 
great bell in a tower in the rear of headquarters on Pearl near 
Main Street, but latterly electric sirens have been used, merely 
as a warning to traffic. The signal system is of the most ap- 
proved type. 



The "watch" of the early days were also the police, wearing- 
long coats and carrying lanterns and staffs. Citizens exempted 
from twelve nights' duty a year paid $12, from which total 
amount the "regulars" were paid; thus till 1822 when a tax of 
one mill was laid. Jeremy Hoadley was captain of the force in 
1820 and the first lock-up was in the rear of his hat shop. Pris- 
oners were haled before a justice of the peace. What with no 
hold-ups, bootlegging or "cracking," the chief offense was being 
on the street in the night time without reasonable excuse. In 1824 
a riot in the negro quarter necessitated the assembling of the Foot 
Guard for a day and a night. The City Hall of 1830, on Market 
Street, furnished cells. The first board of police commissioners 
was appointed July 6, 1860, after strenuous endeavor of Mayor 
Henry C. Deming to secure unanimity of purpose. Walter P. 
Chamberlain was made chief of the first and uniformed force 
thus created, Charles D. Nott captain, and Charles Brewster, 
lieutenant. The board met in the old Union Hall at the corner of 
Main and Pearl streets. A station house was provided on Kins- 
ley Street in 1867. The present police building, on the site of 
the old City Hall, was completed in 1898 and is now inadequate. 

If there is need of further reminder that for seventy years 
after the city was incorporated it still was rural in character, it 
lies in the fact that the first sewers were laid in 1835. The city 
limits were extended a second time in 1859, four years after 
West Hartford had been set off. 

I en' let inn cif Martin Willi- 

Looking down State Street from the old State House 




The worth-while study of the towns should not be in the ab- 
stract. To get the true measure of sequences after the framing 
of the Constitution, the object has been, and should be, to observe 
phases simultaneously and in conjunction with each other. That 
a constitution was made is one thing, but how, why and by what 
kind of persons is as much worth knowing; the individual facts 
of remarkable insurance companies and of original, ingenious 
industries and of the home work of the first master of the na- 
tional school system are in the series of world-known, abstract 
incidents, but the conception formed cannot be reasonably accu- 
rate, fair or satisfying without the blending of other and all 
phases. In towns standing forth from the beginning as the Con- 
stitution Towns, the world would expect evidence of something 
still higher than the product of toil, genius and brains. 

Up to the '40s there had been the continual struggle for exist- 
ence, in manner typical of the colonies and young states, but this 
story has revealed glimpses of social features along with the eco- 
nomic, of the art and of the literature. In this particular period 
there was to be a gathering-up of scraps of the past in a way 
which, unconsciously to the beginners thereat, was to provide the 
worthiest evidence of the soul of the towns of Hooker and his 
General Court — the evidence in the Atheneum and its affiliated 
institutions and in the Hartford Hospital which followed the 
founding of the country's first school for the deaf, in the first 
institution for the insane, and also in the Hartford Theological 
Seminary, Trinity College and Berkeley Divinity School. 

And it always must be considered as the "towns," for there 



were the two besides Hooker's, and their territory covered nearly 
all the present-proposed Municipal District of which Hartford, 
historically, has been the center. The force of the fellowship has 
continued as potent as it was in 1639. What those towns con- 
tributed, after the beginning, is properly reviewed in their indi- 
vidual sections of this study. 

The foundation stone of this particular development was 
spontaneous appreciation of history and books, the development 
of what is now the Connecticut Historical Society, today again 
outgrowing its confines. The organizers were the men of multi- 
farious activities whose names the preceding story has made 
familiar. A word or two from the press and letters of the time 
furnish the background. Millhands who had worked from sun- 
rise to sunset were of an especially skilled type who had just 
naturally formed their circles not for social pleasure only, but 
for readings and the exchange of ideas. The store clerks worked 
through the evenings. In 1847 they were heard inquiring in the 
press why they should not be given two evenings a week; they 
said the objection raised had been that it would lead to dissipa- 
tion, but it seemed not to have done so in New Haven, and there 
were many who wanted time to read and to enjoy music. Inci- 
dentally there were biting sarcasms on the rule of women's fash- 
ions for very light clothing in winter and fur decorations in 

The Wadsworth Atheneum corporation came to be the aggre- 
gation of the Connecticut Historical Society, the Hartford Public 
Library, the Watkinson Library and the art galleries now mostly 
accommodated in the Morgan Memorial. Taken individually: 

Interest in historical matters culminated in the incorporation 
of the society in 1825 "for the purpose of discovering, procuring 
and preserving whatever may relate to the civil, ecclesiastical and 
natural history of the United States and especially of the state 
of Connecticut." Judge Trumbull was president, Rev. Dr. 
Thomas Robbins corresponding secretary and Bishop George W. 
Doane (then a professor at Washington College) secretary of the 
standing committee. Bishop Brownell, Timothy Pitkin and John 
S. Peters were other incorporators. 

The inception of the library was on the eve of the Revolution. 
In February, 1774, the call was issued for "the subscribers for a 

General Curator of Morgan Memorial 


President of the Atheneum, as Doge of 
Venice in the Venetian Fete in 1928 


Curator-Emeritus of Wadsworth 


First President of Society for Savings, the 
oldest and largest savings bank in Connec- 
ticut. Founder of Hartford Orphan Asylum 


public library" to assemble for organization, and the Courant 
extolled books for ' 'their smiling aspect on the interests of soci- 
ety, virtue and religion." This, the Librarian Company, in 1799 
was incorporated as the Hartford Library Company by Jeremiah 
Wadsworth, Rev. Dr. Nathan Strong and others. 

In 1838, Dr. Barnard and others organized the Young Men's 
Institute for literary culture and to avail themselves of the lec- 
tures then being delivered before lyceums the country round. To 
this organization, the Library Company delivered its 3,000 vol- 
umes, making a total of 5,620 in the institute's first catalogue. 
Leaders in the institute included George G. Spencer, Gustavus F. 
Davis, William N. Matson, Erastus Collins, Junius S. Morgan, 
James D. Willard, Amariah Storrs, Edward W. Coleman and Al- 
fred Gill. 

In 1839, interest in the historical society revived and the 
charter was renewed with Thomas Day as president till his death 
in 1855; subsequently Henry Barnard till 1860; J. B. Hosmer to 
1863, J. Hammond Trumbull to 1889 and since then Robbins Bat- 
tell, George J. Hoadly, Rev. Samuel Hart, Morgan B. Brainard 
and Dr. George C. F. Williams. The original incorporators in- 
cluded William W. Ellsworth, Isaac Toucey, Roger M. Sherman, 
Thomas S. Williams, T. H. Gallaudet, Samuel H. Huntington, 
Benjamin Trumbull and Walter Mitchell. Those in 1839 in- 
cluded Charles Hosmer, Erastus Smith, Noah Porter, Leonard 
Bacon, Nathaniel Goodwin, R. R. Hinman and Henry Barnard. 
In 1840 the society arranged the bicentenary celebration of the 
adoption of the Constitution and entertained delegates from simi- 
lar societies in other states. Noah Webster delivered the address. 

December 1, 1841, Daniel Wadsworth formally announced 
that he would give the property of his father Jeremiah Wads- 
worth from Main Street east to his own premises on Prospect 
Street as a site for a building for an art gallery and, in the two 
other separate and fireproof divisions, the institute and the his- 
torical society. The subscribers to the fund for the building and 
gallery formed an association, incorporated in 1842 as the Wads- 
worth Atheneum, every subscriber of $25 or more to be a mem- 
ber — shares for $25 to expire on the death of the holder; shares 
for $100 or more to be assignable and transmissible. A total of 
$31,730 was given by 133 subscribers, headed by Mr. Wadsworth 


with $6,500. The building which was completed in 1844 was of 
castellated design, after plans by Ithiel Town of New Haven and 
was made of cream-colored granite from a quarry in Glaston- 
bury, now exhausted. The cost was $3,600 more than the sub- 
scriptions; the society contributed $1,605 toward the deficit. An 
additional $3,000 was raised to engage George Piatt, a London 
and New York decorator, to finish the interior in kalsomine, a 
process "known only to the discoverer and to Mr. Piatt." A total 
of nearly $40,000 was paid in. The estimated value of the land 
and old buildings was $16,200. Mr. Wadsworth's gifts in money 
amounted to $25,276, exclusive of his donations to the gallery. 
The old Wadsworth mansion, so long the center of social and 
public life, built by Jeremiah Wadsworth's father, Rev. Daniel 
Wadsworth, in 1730, was removed to Buckingham Street where 
it stood till 1887. 

The historical society took the Connecticut Society of Natural 
History's collection which had been a part of the Hartford Mu- 
seum , the successor to Steward's previously mentioned. The 
natural history society had been organized in 1835, with Rev. 
Dr. Samuel F. Jarvis of Washington College the president and 
Erastus Smith secretary. This collection was removed to Trin- 
ity College and the Hartford Hospital in 1873. The art gallery 
opened with an exhibition of Colonel Trumbull's five large paint- 
ings of Revolutionary subjects and paintings bought of the de- 
funct New York Academy of Fine Arts by David Watkinson, 
Mr. Wadsworth, J. B. Hosmer and other subscribers to a fund. 
The basis of the statuary collection was bought of the estate of 
Edward S. Bartholomew, James G. Batterson going to Rome for 
it after the sculptor's death. 

The historical society (whose first book, bought in 1839, was 
"Farmer's Genealogical Register") was the fortunate recipient 
in 1844 of Rev. Dr. Thomas Robbins' library, one of the finest in 
New England, rich in early folio editions of the Bible, the classics 
and pamphlets relating to local history. In 1893 the antiquarian 
and genealogical library of D. Williams Patterson was added. 
In addition to its wealth of books, periodicals and pamphlets, it 
has the only complete file of the Courant since it began in 1764, 
the Connecticut Gazette (1760-1838) and the Middlesex Gazette 
(1785-1834). Among the manuscripts are the letters of several 


Librarian of the Connecticut Historical 
Libi - ary 


Librarian of Hartford Public Library 

Librarian of Hartford Public Library 


colonial governors and agents in England, rosters of the early 
wars, letters and diaries of soldiers, minutes of the Council of 
Safety and the like. The Trumbull papers by themselves are a 
treasury, and with them is the correspondence of Colonel Wads- 
worth. The diary of Nathan Hale carries up to a few weeks be- 
fore his execution. In the Deane collection is the agreement 
signed by Lafayette when he came to America. An item of the 
collection is the original of Morse's first telegraph message, May 
24, 1844: "What hath God wrought." Its pictures, furniture 
and relics of the great men in Connecticut history in particular 
are invaluable. A considerable part of the belongings, now in 
the care of Librarian Albert C. Bates, is unavailable for the gen- 
eral public because of the present lack of space. 

To see these relics, the general public was willing to pay a 
small admission fee, but the art gallery languished. An associa- 
tion of women interested themselves in it in 1877 and when it 
seemed imperative that the gallery be closed, they organized as 
the Hartford Art Society in 1884. Mary D. Ely was the president 
and Mary Collins the secretary. The gallery then was opened 
free for two days each week. The list of incorporators in 1884 
bore the names of Miss Ely, Elizabeth H. Colt, Eliza T. Robin- 
son, Sarah J. Cowan, Mary Collins, Alice Taintor, Harriet G. 
Jones, Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, Francis Goodwin, J. G. Batter- 
son, Rev. Dr. E. P. Parker, F. L. Burr, Charles Dudley Warner 
and Henry C. Robinson. After several years in the art gallery 
section, the society moved to a large room in the Prospect Street 
Annex, thence to a building of its own across that street and 
eventually to its present quarters on Collins Street. 

David Watkinson, who had been one of the most enthusiastic 
supporters of the Atheneum, died in December, 1857, and by his 
will left $100,000 to establish a reference library in connection 
with the historical society. Mr. Watkinson (1778-1857) and his 
brothers Edward and Robert had been proprietors of the cotton 
factory in South Manchester and of the Union Manufacturing- 
Company of Marlborough and Manchester, with Watkinson & 
Arnold their agents in this city. Also he had been partner with 
Ezra Clark and Ezra Clark, Jr., in the hardware business, re- 
tiring in 1841 to give his attention to his private business and 
public affairs. He was a leader in many of the most important 

27— VOL. 1 



undertakings from 1800 on. He left $40,000 to the hospital and 
a fund which made the Watkinson Farm School possible in 1862. 
Of the bequest to the historical society, $5,000 was for the en- 
largement of the society's quarters to make room for the refer- 
ence library. To that end the land and Daniel Wadsworth resi- 
dence east of the Atheneum were bought, an addition to the 
Atheneum was built in 1864 and the Wadsworth home was rented 
to the Hartford Theological School which had moved from East 
Windsor Hill; on the school's removal to Broad Street, the old 
home was rented to the Hartford Club. When the rearrange- 
ment was made in 1890, the reference library took the second 
floor of the addition and the public library the first floor. It was 
the intention of the donor that the reference library should supple- 
ment the other libraries in general literature, and sixteen other 
trustees were incorporated, the governor and the presidents of 
the historical society, Atheneum and the institute to be trustees 
ex-officio. By this means there was provided for the city a library 
of greatest value, largely added to by Director Frank B. Gay of 
these later years. The first president was Alfred Smith who 
served till 1868 and was succeeded by George Brinley, who gave 
valuable books, and he by William R. Cone. J. Hammond Trum- 
bull was librarian till 1891 when he was succeeded by Mr. Gay. 
The development of the public library and the making free 
are a part of the history belonging to a future period. More than 
ever and more than could have been dreamed of in this period of 
getting established, the whole is the "people's university." 

An international and interdenominational university of re- 
ligion, the Hartford Seminary Foundation, is universally known 
as one of Hartford's noblest ideas and ennobling assets, training- 
men and women for all forms of Christian service. The seed 
from which it grew was the Theological Institute of Connecticut, 
established at East Windsor Hill nearby, and not far removed 
from the birthplace of Jonathan Edwards, with a brick building 
pretentious for its day but latterly the unkempt hovel of those 
from other lands seeking America's opportunities. The purpose 
of thirty-six Congregational ministers assembled in convention 


Temporary Home of School of Missions, Hartford 
Seminary Foundation 



September 10, 1833, was to counteract the recrudesence, in cer- 
tain quarters, of dangerous views on depravity and regeneration. 
The Calvinistic creed was made the basis of the Pastoral Union 
formed at the same time, the trustees of the institute to be ac- 
countable thereto and to guard the consecrated funds. Dr. Ben- 
nett Tyler was the first president and Dr. Jonathan Coggswell 
and Prof. William Thompson were associated with him. When 
Miss Rebecca Waldo of Worcester, Mass., gave $11,000 there was 
hope that in time subscriptions would not have to be depended 
upon, a hope that was to be better fulfilled than they could have 
imagined. A classical school under Professor Thompson was 
made an adjunct in 1851. 

For betterment of location and finances, overtures for amal- 
gamation were made to Yale in 1856; Yale replied that because 
of 'Very obvious personal relations and sympathies" she felt com- 
pelled to wait "till Providence should seem to dictate." The pos- 
sible dictation of the Almighty came in 1864 but by that time the 
sturdy trustees had decided on Hartford and in 1865 opened in 
the former Daniel Wadsworth residence on Prospect Street, 
where the school remained till handsome subscriptions, including 
that of President James B. Hosmer of the Society for Savings 
and trustee of the school from 1841 to 1878, made possible the 
fitting structures on Broad Street and the removal thither in 
1879. Invitations were received later from other institutions 
but the school was wedded to Hartford. 

Hosmer Hall completed and filled, and the name changed to 
the Hartford Theological Seminary, two men came into the his- 
tory at a time suggestive of the Providence Yale had relied upon 
— Newton Case and Chester D. Hartranft, brother of the great 
Pennsylvania soldier and governor. Mr. Case (1807-1890), a 
farmer's boy, had come here at the age of twenty-one to work at 
copper-plate printing. In 1830, he set up for himself and reaped 
the benefit of the flood-tide of publishing. Six years of success 
in the Mitchell Building and he, with E. D. Tiffany, had bought 
out J. Hubbard Wells, the firm of Case, Tiffany & Company was 
formed, L. C. Burnham was taken into partnership, the old jail 
was bought for a building and the publishing house which for 
years has been known as Case, Lockwood & Brainard (James 
Lockwood coming in on the death of Mr. Burnham in 1853) was 


launched. Leverett Brainard was invited into partnership on 
the retirement of Albert G. Cooley and Mr. Tiffany. Mr. Case re- 
tired in 1875. In his intimate association with Doctor Hart- 
ranft, he recognized the needs of the seminary, gave the splendid 
Case Library, spent "untold thousands" — to quote Doctor Mac- 
Kenzie — for most valuable collections of books from Europe, 
some of them unique in America, and in his will "left an estate 
which so largely underlies the secure structure of the seminary 

Doctor Hartranft came in 1878 and was chosen president in 
1888 in which office he remained till 1903 when as president 
emeritus he went to Wolfenbiittel to continue his researches into 
the works of Kaspar Schwenkfeld, the 1520 reformer for a demo- 
cratic system of church government. He died there in 1914. The 
doctor was born in 1839 and was pastor of the Second Dutch Re- 
formed Church of Brunswick, N. J., when called here. He con- 
ceived the idea of having a group of religious schools without re- 
gard to denomination. 

In the progressive year of 1902 a school for workers which 
had been started in Springfield in 1885 came here and is now 
known as the Hartford School of Religious Education. In 1911 
the Kennedy School of Missions was added, after the seminary 
with the cooperation of Trinity had worked up a course of 
missions, after a fund had been subscribed by friends and had 
been named in honor of Rev. Dr. Charles M. Lamson of the First 
Church and former president of the American Board, and after 
Mrs. John S. Kennedy of New York had generously endowed it. 
To secure unity of body while preserving independence of func- 
tion, the Hartford Seminary Foundation was incorporated in 
1913. The original Pastoral Union continues as a voluntary 
association and elects nine of the thirty-six trustees; the alumni 
elect three and the trustees themselves elect the others. Women 
were admitted to the seminary in 1889 on equal terms, and there 
is a women's board. 

Melancthon W. Jacobus, who had been professor here since 
1891, was offered the presidency after Doctor Hartranft's retire- 
ment but accepted instead the deanship. He was born in Alle- 
gheny City, Pa., in 1855, son of Rev. Dr. Melancthon W. Jacobus, 
was graduated at both the academic and theological departments 


of Princeton, was honored by degrees at Lafayette and Yale, has 
been a trustee of Princeton since 1890, and is the author of a 
number of theological treatises. At the time of coming here he 
was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oxford, Pa. He mar- 
ried Clara M. Cooley, daughter of Francis B. Cooley of this city. 

William Douglas Mackenzie, born in Orange River Colony, 
South Africa, in 1859, of a distinguished Scotch family, gradu- 
ate of the Universities of Edinburgh and Gottingen, and now 
with honorary degrees from many universities, was ordained a 
Congregational minister in 1882 and was professor in the Chi- 
cago Theological Seminary when called to the presidency of the 
theological seminary in 1903. He continues to hold that dis- 

On obtaining the charter of 1913 thirty acres of land at the 
corner of Elizabeth Street and Girard Avenue for a suitable 
home for the foundation were purchased. It was not till 1921 
that the trustees could see their way clear to begin the great 
work. Mackenzie Hall, the residence hall for women, was begun 
that year with only a small part of the necessary funds in hand. 
Before completion the whole $200,000 had been subscribed by 
citizens of Hartford and vicinity. Then came a splendid gift and 
legacy from the late Samuel P. Avery (whose life and beneficen- 
ces are elsewhere noted) and Avery Hall for the Case Memorial 
Library was erected. Knight Hall for the School of Religious 
Education was built by the dean of the school, Edward Hooker 
Knight, his family and a few of his friends. The old Hosmer 
Hall and Case Library were sold and the new residence for men 
was named Hosmer Hall, while the building erected from the 
Case fund for the academic building was named Hartranft Hall, 
after "the friend who had inspired him for these great acts of 
wisdom and Christian philosophy." Then in 1924 came an un- 
conditioned gift of $250,000 from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with 
commendation for the interdenominational university and the 
spirit of the students, faculty and trustees, the president of 
which board is Charles Welles Gross. The buildings, of Glaston- 
bury granite, were designed by Charles Collins, of a Hartford 
family. The physical evidence of the continuity of Hartford's 
interest is complete, but back of that is the development of the 
"Hartford idea." At the dedication dinner in May, 1927, Doctor 


Mackenzie dwelt upon the work of graduates in many fields and 
recalled the names of many other benefactors — John S. Welles, 
Jonathan Morris, Jeremiah M. Allen, Lyman B. Brainard, 
Charles M. Joslyn, the family of F. B. Cooley, Rowland Swift 
and Atwood Collins. "It is not the kind of institution that seems 
to have attracted enthusiasm, confidence, devotion, self-sacrifice, 
in the same way at other places. But here Hartford, long ago, 
somehow learned to do this." 

Since the dedication there has been a bequest of $51,000 to 
the School of Religious Education, by the will of Rev. Henry S. 
Chapman of Glen Ridge, N. J. Doctor Knight retired from the 
deanship of that school in 1927 and was succeeded by Karl R. 
Stolz, a Methodist, a graduate of Northwestern University in 
1909 and member of the American Association of University 
Professors. He was born in Traverse City, Mich., in 1884. This 
year (1928), after a long and most notable term of service, Dean 
Jacobus retired. The duties of the office were discharged by 
Prof. Curtis M. Geer for a few months, till the appointment of 
Rev. Dr. Rockwell Harmon Potter who thereupon terminated his 
long pastorate at the First Church. Professor Geer has been a 
member of the faculty since 1901 and previously was a Congre- 
gational minister in East Windsor and in Danvers, Mass., and a 
professor at Bates College, — an eminent authority on social serv- 
ice. He was born in Hadlyme and was graduated at Williams in 
1887; after a course at the seminary, he studied abroad. Rev. 
Dr. Arthur L. Gillett, a native of Westfield, Mass. (and brother 
of United States Senator Frederick H. Gillett), a graduate of 
Amherst and of the seminary and a member of the faculty for 
many years in addition to other distinction that has been his in 
the field of philosophy, has resigned, as also has Prof. Charles S. 
Lane, another graduate of the seminary and likewise of Am- 
herst, and vice president of the school and secretary of the foun- 
dation faculty and of the Board of Trustees. A portrait of 
Dean Knight has been given for Knight Hall and a tablet in 
memory of President Hartranft, unveiled by his only son, Fred- 
erick B. Hartranft of this city, has been placed in Hartranft 
Hall. Death has claimed Rev. Dr. Alexander R. Merriam, pro- 
fessor emeritus in the theological school — a graduate of Yale and 
of Andover, at one time a teacher in the high school and always 

(From the engraving by H. B. Hall) 


Discoverer of Anesthesia 



active in city interests. Edwin Knox Mitchell, professor since 
1892, helpful also in the city's affairs, is made professor emeri- 
tus. These are men of the type Doctor Mackenzie referred to 
who have attracted enthusiasm, confidence, devotion, self-sacri- 
fice. To them and their like from the beginning Hartford is 
deeply indebted. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century the list of Hartford 
County physicians who had made a national reputation included, 
as has been told, Mason F. Coggswell, Eli Todd, Lemuel Hopkins, 
John L. Comstock, Samuel B. Woodward of Wethersfield and 
Samuel B. Beresford, and recently had been added to it the names 
of Horace Wells and John N. Riggs. Wells was the discoverer of 
anesthesia. After seeing laughing-gas used at one of the fre- 
quent public performances of the day, he went to his office on 
Main Street (the location now marked by a tablet), administered 
the nitrous-oxide gas to himself, and his assistant, Doctor Riggs, 
extracted a tooth. That was December 11, 1844. Later he ad- 
ministered the gas for operations by local physicians. State and 
city erected the monument in the doctor's honor on Bushnell 
Park. The doctor was born in Hartford, Vt., in 1815 and died 
in New York in 1848. Doctor Riggs was the discoverer of the 
cause of Riggs disease of teeth and gums. 

The County Medical Society had been established in 1792 
with Dr. Eliakim Fish and Dr. Elihu H. Smith as the officers. 
The Hartford Medical Society was formed August 27, 1846, two 
years after the Hopkins Medical Society had ceased to exist, and, 
as will appear in connection with the Hunt Memorial, has ever 
since been an important factor in the community. 

One of the society's first grateful duties, while at the same 
time advancing the important cause of sanitation, was to crystal- 
ize public sentiment for a hospital. Evidence of the need had 
accumulated when the Society for Providing a Home for the Sick 
had been formed and a house rented at the junction of Maple 
and Retreat avenues. Then in March, 1854, came the explosion 
at the car shops of Fales & Gray near Dutch Point in which nine- 
teen were killed and forty wounded, and there was no suitable 


place for caring for the injured. The mayor presided at a pub- 
lic meeting inspired by the medical society and immediately 
thereafter the Hartford Hospital was incorporated — Francis 
Parsons (1st), president; William T. Lee, vice president; F. A. 
Brown, secretary and treasurer, and Chester Adams, G. B. Haw- 
ley and L. F. Robinson (1st), Executive Committee. Subscrip- 
tions yielded $31,000 and the state gave $10,000. Daniel Wads- 
worth made it known that he would bequeath $40,000. The 
Coggswell lot of nine acres, with buildings, near South (Bar- 
nard) Park was bought for $16,000 and the cornerstone of the 
administration building and north wing was laid by Governor 
Buckingham in 1837. Meanwhile the Home for the Sick had 
given its property where patients could be accommodated in lim- 
ited number at $3 a week, which price debarred two-thirds of the 

The first doctors were S. B. Beresford, G. W. Russell, G. B. 
Hawley, E. K. Hunt, M. W. Wilson and A. W. Barrows. The 
library and instruments of the late Dr. George Sumner (widely 
known as a botanist as well as a physician and a professor in 
that science at Trinity) were bought and given, as also, later, 
was a library of worth, bought with a fund raised by Rev. Prof. 
J. J. McCook. In 1865, when there were seventy patients, wards 
for only forty-four and but ten attendants, a popular appeal pro- 
vided another wing. Four years later, the need increasing, the 
state allowed $20,000 on condition the people subscribed an equal 
amount; the subscriptions totaled $86,200, and the south and 
east wings were completed. The memorial tablet giving the 
names of donors of $5,000 or more was placed in 1870 and por- 
traits of benefactors and veterans of the staff were hung in the 
picture gallery. Ward 5 for men's surgical attendance and an 
isolation ward were added in 1876. 

The growth has been marked by the purchase of much addi- 
tional land and the erection of new buildings, indicative of the 
community's pride and of the benevolence of individuals. Among 
the more prominent buildings are the pavilion for contagious dis- 
eases, Wildwood Sanitarium for the tuberculous (on the farm 
given by David Clark in memory of his son Lester), the Robin- 
son Children's wards (given by Mrs. Louis R. Cheney in memory 
of her sister, Miss Elizabeth Trumbull Robinson), the nurses' 

l|M ■II II . »^i«l^ .-l - — ■— t-^. 

Mftjr-iLi*j.: ijtKwiw',. - j j^3» 



rs«£* ' - i rjplJs5D_i.i, ,iiEIM 

■ f* '•'• 

sRtt*' ;j jmB Bm^7 


1 Iv 

B Kfc-5 

v-wv ■ - 

"3?v^?- *{£'"■ 

is ' 




ppp,, ^jrg» ^ 

3; ; c 

I ™ 





Showing part of buildings on South Hudson Street. From right to 
left: Women's Building, X-Ray Building and wing and Administra- 
tion Building. Cheney Library is being built the other side of the 
Administration Building. 


residence, the nurses' memorial home (given by Mr. and Mrs. 
G. F. Heublein), the women's building, the Capewell X-ray build- 
ing (given by the family of George F. Capewell, inventor of the 
horse-nail and founder of the Capewell Horse-Nail Company), 
the Hall-Wilson laboratory (given by Mrs. John C. Wilson in 
memory of her father, President John H. Hall of Colt's Patent 
Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, and of her husband), the 
superintendent's residence (given by Mrs. Mabel Perkins Clark) , 
and the Mary Robinson Cheney Memorial Library (given by Col. 
and President Louis R. Cheney and his daughter, Mrs. John T. 
Roberts, in memory of the colonel's wife, the first president of 
the women's auxiliary). The value of the buildings now is 
nearly $800,000. 

A very notable gift in November, 1928, is that of Edward B. 
Peck, who was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1840, came here with 
the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in 1868 and 
was assistant secretary at the time of his death in 1928. He left 
$800,000 to the Hospital, $25,000 to the Atheneum, $20,000 to 
the Hartford Orphan Asylum, $20,000 to the Charity Organiza- 
tion Society, $10,000 to the Newington Home for Crippled Chil- 
dren and $10,000 to the Young Women's Christian Association. 

There are forty-five free beds, caring for about 350 patients 
annually. In addition to the large gifts for these there is a me- 
morial fund of over $200,000, contributed by individuals, and a 
number of other funds, the larger of which include the following 
bequests and memorials: Citizens endowment, $25,000; Isaac 
B. and Marian Davis, $310,000; Lyman B. Jewell, $30,000; 
Keney fund, $50,000; Roland Mather, $30,000; William B. Mc- 
Cray, $43,000; Junius S. Morgan, $20,000; Mary I. B. Russell, 
in memory of Dr. G. W. Russell, Mary S. Beresford and Francis 
Beresford Marsh, $40,000; Oliver Grant Terry and Amelia Smith 
Terry (from Miss May Terry), $220,000; Josephine Williams 
estate in memory of Lyman B. Jewell, $100,000; Josephine Wil- 
liams, $654,000. The annual admissions are over 12,000, repre- 
senting forty-four nationalities, of which about 10,000 are 
United States — Russia, Sweden, Canada, England, and Austria 
ranking next, and in this order. By occupation, housewives stand 
first, followed in order by "none," school, and laborers. 

The Training School for Nurses was organized in 1877, of 


which Mrs. F. A. Tuttle was superintendent for fifteen years. In 
1898 Mrs. Charles Dudley Warner published a call for funds for 
a nurses' home; the result was a completed building in 1900, in 
which is a tablet to the memory of Mary Sweeney, a veteran 
nurse who died in South Manchester intestate and whose prop- 
erty, through the instrumentality of Col. Frank W. Cheney of 
South Manchester, was turned over by the state for this home. 
A social service department was organized in 1913. 

The Old People's Home on Jefferson Street, in connection with 
the hospital, dates from 1873 by charter amendment, and the 
present building was erected on Jefferson Street in 1884. Charles 
H. Northam, late president of the hospital, left $50,000 for it. 
Subsequent gifts were from Henry and Walter Keney, Timothy 
M. Allyn, Mrs. Lucius H. Goodwin, Thomas Smith, and Mrs. Lois 
Sargent of Hartford, Charles Boswell of Wethersfield and Hart- 
ford, and Mrs. David Gallop of Plainfield. 

The incorporators were David Watkinson, Samuel Colt, S. S. 
Ward, Amos M. Collins, Albert Day, James G. Bolles and A. W. 
Butler. The presidents after Francis Parsons, 1st, have been 
C. H. Northam, Edson Fessenden, G. W. Russell, Harmon G. 
Howe, A. C. Dunham and Louis R. Cheney; the superintendents, 
Leander Hall, Benjamin S. Gilbert, J. M. Teniston, Winthrop 
H. Smith, A. W. Smith and Dr. Lewis A. Sexton. The history 
would not be complete without the name of Dr. William D. Mor- 
gan who for many years has been chairman' of the Executive 
Committee. Under the superintendency of Doctor Sexton, who 
was appointed in 1917, the hospital has ranked among the high- 
est in the country, official attest of which was given at the time 
of the national survey by the Smithsonian Institution in 1926. 

Of origin in this period also was another of Hartford's proud- 
est assets — its parks, about which much will be said later. Rev. 
Dr. Horace Bushnell is here once more conspicuous, for it was he 
who looked upon the sordid conditions along Little River from 
the old Imlay Mills site to the Main Street bridge and said this 
should be a park and not a heap of wreckage from the early rail- 
road days, of tanneries and of miserable cottages. Once more, 


as in the case of the water supply, his persistency proved effec- 
tual. William Law Olmsted, in the beginning of his career as 
landscape architect, gave freely of his advice, and Judge Sher- 
man W. Adams, another who devoted himself to public interests 
and to history, was superintendent. Under his direction the 
rough and swampy ground was filled in and graded, and a great 
variety of native trees was set out. In all there were twenty- 
five acres, to which half as much again was added when the new 
Capitol took the place of Trinity College on the hill. So appreci- 
ative was the city as the work progressed that the Common Coun- 
cil on February 14, 1876, the eve of the doctor's death, gave it 
his name. As will be seen, the present park system was not in- 
augurated till 1895. The chairman of the Board of Trustees 
having supervision of this first park work was George Beach, a 
descendant of Governor Bradford of Plymouth colony and of Wil- 
liam Whiting, second treasurer of Connecticut, himself presi- 
dent of the Phoenix Bank and for over thirty years a member of 
Hungerford, Phelps & Beach, later Beach & Company, importers 
of dyes. 

Philanthropy in the most peculiar form in the history of the 
county established what today is the Larabee Fund. Charles 
Larabee, born in Windham in 1782, was a captain in the Regular 
Army in 1812 and was breveted major for bravery at Brown- 
stone, where he lost his left arm. For four years from 1831 he 
was surveyor of revenue in Cincinnati. He came to Hartford to 
spend his last days. In 1847 he willed his property to the city 
and town, the income to be used for the needy and lame or de- 
formed women. In 1859 he included West Hartford and said, 
in his will, that he considered about $500 to each beneficiary 
would be enough. Subsequent codicils to the unique document, 
which he wished to have printed and the one pamphlet copy of 
which is in the city treasurer's office, directed that ladies from 
each church should handle the fund, which he had ''increased 
twenty-fold," and that Stiles D. Sperry be executor. The sum 
received by city and town in 1864 was $6,342. This has been 
increased by gifts and bequests till now the fund which is held by 
the treasurer with interest disbursements by the ladies is over 

A revered asset of the city which was lost in this period was 
the historic Charter Oak which was blown down August 24, 

28— VOL. 1 



1856. A dirge was played over the tree by Colt's Armory Band, 
and Lydia Huntley Sigourney and others wrote poems on it. 
Every inch of the tree was saved for relics and memorials. 

An asset which was to disappear when the Government Build- 
ing came was the State House Green. It was further beautified 
in 1856 by turning on the new fountain. An editor wrote : "All 
improvements of this kind soften the ruggedness of our Puritan 
character with something of artistic fineness," and a poet proph- 
esied, in a faith totally blind, that the fountain would play for 
centuries to come. In 1928 there is renewed faith in a recurrence 
to a softening effect, as the vacated site is once more to become 
the city's. 


From Wells Street, 1865. Trinity College, where Capitol now stands 




The courage, self-sacrifice and horrors of the Civil war in the 
field have been memorialized in cemeteries and in public places 
throughout the country, and the home cost of the conflict has been 
counted not only in written records but in the handicaps that fell 
to soldiers' families and descendants for two generations — in- 
deed, in many instances, still have to be endured. But, as in the 
long-approaching Revolution, though not as in the swift World 
war, there can be small appreciation of the tense atmosphere, 
especially in a community like this Constitution County, without 
a review of circumstances preceding. Especially true is this of 
the Mexican war. In the instance of the Civil war, history no 
longer can tolerate the dismissal on the ground that it was fratri- 
cidal and that, therefore, local divergence of views had best be 
forgotten. From standpoint of military science that war takes 
precedence over all others, but it is the thrilling story and not the 
underlying features and their more remote causes, in the various 
towns, that has crowded the printed page. In the progressive 
study of a county with its Constitution history, at least a guide 
to these features will be looked for by present and future readers, 
even though space be limited. 

The Mexican war of 1846 was not popular in Connecticut. 
In a resolution adopted by the Legislature, it was considered un- 
constitutional, because of President Polk's sending troops into 
Mexican territory. Since the Government called for volunteers 
at large, the question of the militia and the federal service was 
not raised as in 1812. A total of some 700 enlisted in Connecti- 
cut chiefly for intermittent state duty along the shores; her 



officers already in the army won distinction. Thomas H. Sey- 
mour, of notable Hartford family and one who had been cap- 
tain of the Hartford Light Guard — counted among the few earn- 
est companies in a militia that was overgrown and seedy — was 
major in the Connecticut portion of the one formal New Eng- 
land regiment, the Ninth, for service at the front. It was said 
Texas had been annexed merely to establish a new empire of 
slavery and this country should not have concerned itself about 
Mexico's treatment of it. 

Hence, for the action of the President in sending troops for 
protection of the new state before war had been declared, one 
must go back to the story of the annexation of Texas as President 
Tyler was leaving office in March, 1845, after its troubles as an 
independent Mexican state since in 1835. Two of Hartford's 
foremost sons wrote much upon that subject, John M. Niles (sen- 
ator 1835-1839 and 1843-1849, former editor of the Times and 
writer of an authoritative book on Mexico) and Prof. William G. 
Sumner of Yale, who was born in Hartford in 1840. The former 
detailed the perpetual brutal conduct and machinations of the 
Mexican government (not the people) ; Sumner, at later date, be- 
lieved that pro-slavery had been at the bottom of it all. A vigor- 
ous review of the contentions, with decision that the pro-slavery 
theory was due to utter misapprehension, was published in 1908 
by Maj. Charles H. Owen, able Hartford lawyer and veteran of 
the Civil war. Incidentally and not significantly, President Polk 
was received in Hartford in 1847, during the war, with all the 
honors that should be accorded a chief magistrate. And the demo- 
cratic Congress meantime was cutting down the protective tariff, 
on which New England industries depended. Incidentally also, 
Seymour was to be elected governor in 1850 and to be reelected 
twice; his subsequent changeful career, as it will be outlined, is 
intensely significant of change in popular sentiment. 

Coming to the slavery phase, of which the Texas-Mexico 
affair was in reality such an important adjunct, everyone is on 
more familiar grounds. From 1808, when the South had joined 
with the North in congressional prohibition of importation of 
slaves, until 1836, slavery had publicly ceased to be an issue; 
Washington's and Jefferson's hopes had been fulfilled. But 
underneath fire was smoldering; it was known privately that 

Showing site of the present Hartford National Bank and Trust Company 


slaves were being imported. The fact was forced into public 
notice at Hartford in 1839, the bicentennial year of the Consti- 
tution. Fifty-three slaves were brought to the jail.* They had 
been seized in Africa and on the Spanish ship UAmistad were 
being taken from Havana to Puerto Principe, with America 
their probable final destination, when they killed all the crew 
but two whom they ordered to return them to Africa. Finding 
they were being deceived, they forced a landing at the end of 
Long Island where they were taken in charge by a Government 
vessel. President Buchanan yielded to Spain's demand for de- 
livery of ship and cargo. Protest being made, the slaves were 
brought here for a trial of the issue, there being no treaty pro- 
vision. Seth B. Staples, Theodore Sedgwick, Jr., of New York 
and Roger Sherman Baldwin of New Haven defended and won. 
The Government appealing, the Circuit Court in New Haven up- 
held the decision as also did the Supreme Court in 1841, on the 
ground that the men had been kidnapped and were not bound by 
treaties. Most of them were taken to Farmington where they 
were well cared for and given a rudimentary education till re- 
turned to Africa. 

In 1833, the breach between North and South had been 
opened not on the slave question but on the question of protec- 
tive tariff, when South Carolina attempted nullification of the 
tariff law and Webster's immortal speech on the Union was de- 
livered. About the same time, William Lloyd Garrison of Bos- 
ton and others had taken the field for liberation of slaves; the 
breach then was wide open. Locally, the Christian Freeman of 
William H. Burleigh took up the cry of abolition and, despite the 
conservatism of traders and manufacturers who valued their 
southern patronage, the cry increased in intensity. Governor 
Baldwin in 1844 voiced it before the Legislature (which would 
not vote to give colored men suffrage), and the following year 
the abolition or liberty party had a full ticket in the field. The 
Missouri Compromise and its subsequent negation swept many 
of the conservatives into line. 

* This jail had been built in 1837 on lower Pearl Street to replace the one near the 
corner of Trumbull Street, used since 1793, and was to continue to be the jail till the 
present one on Seyms Street was built in 1874 at an initial cost of $211,481 for land 
and building. 


The discovery of gold in California in 1848 created a divert- 
ing craze. Whereas the question of slavery and southern wrath 
had monopolized conversation everywhere, men now marveled 
over the reports from the Pacific coast. A demand sprang up 
for ships to transport seekers for wealth ; for a time business in 
general felt the impetus. The names of some of the "Forty- 
niners" who sailed around Cape Horn indicates the worthy kind 
of men who were eager to join with the adventurers — Capt. Or- 
rin Sellew of East Hartford (commander of a ship), Reuben 
Kellogg, Dr. M. D. Coe, Henry Dean, J. P. Smith, W. 0. Sexton, 
John Grow, Jr., G. H. Sexton, A. S. Whittemore, L. G. Chaffee, 
B. B. Hastings, H. R. Sage, H. P. Sweetzer, Hezekiah Chaffee, 
Edward Pratt, E. J. Bolles, Merrick Moore, L. G. Hale, William 
A. Goodwin, W. R. Freeman, H. M. Butler, Charles E. Mitchell, 
James Spencer, N. L. Turner. From Bloomfield — C. H. Huma- 
son, Henry Hubbard, Powell Green. From Canton — T. B. Hig- 
ley. From Windsor — Stiles Edgerton, E. E. Fox, D. G. Hatha- 
way, H. H. Phelps, Johnson Clark. From Newington — J. S. Kir- 
ham, George Shepard, N. E. Judd, Lafayette Gladding, R. R. 
Rockwell. From Granby— J. R. Hill, C. C. Culver, Donald 
Grimes. From Wethersfield — Walter Griswold, Henry Rhodes. 
From Suffield — Horace Rising. From Glastonbury — William 
and Anson Dean, Thomas Goodale, D. B. Curtis, G. B. Curtis, 
William Welles. From Farmington — Jonathan Cowles. From 
East Windsor — C. L. Waters, William Johnson, Francis Reid, 
George Watson, Luke Watson, Jr., C. F. Osborn. 

During these days of political heat, Isaac Toucey (1791- 
1869) succeeded Governor Baldwin in 1846. He was a native 
of Newtown. Admitted to the bar in Hartford in 1811, he be- 
came state's attorney in 1822. From 1835 to 1839 he was rep- 
resentative. His election to be governor was by the Legislature, 
there not having been a majority for either candidate. In 1848 
he was United States attorney-general, after which he served in 
both houses of the General Assembly and followed Baldwin to 
the Senate. His appointment by Buchanan to be secretary of 
the navy called forth a local editorial comment which expressed 
a growing northern sentiment: "What he is wanted for — know- 
ing nothing about ships — is to dispense patronage to the south- 
erners." He had to share with Jefferson Davis, secretary of 


Looking south from corner of Main and Church Streets. Christ Church on the right, 
Roberts Opera House the third building beyond, Melodeon Building (old Fourth Con- 
gregational Cnurch) with square tower, Pearl Street Church spire to the right of it, 
First Church and South Baptist Church spires beyond. On east side of street: Corner 
of New First Baptist Church, Touro Hall with square tower (old First Baptist, then 
Advent, then Beth Israel), and in the distance spires of Second Baptist Church (left), 

and St. John's Church (right) 

(Photograph by The Ingrahams. From collection of W. J. Hickmotn 



war, the criticism of so distributing men and equipment as to 
give the South the advantage. The criticism was denounced by 
his old associates here. Thomas H. Seymour was governor from 
1850 to 1853. 

Francis Gillette, stanch abolitionist, was appointed to fill out 
the term of Truman Smith of Litchfield. James Dixon (1814- 
1873) served as senator from 1857 to 1869. He had been con- 
gressman from 1845 to 1849. He came from Enfield, where he 
was born, to Hartford in 1838, to be nearer his large clientele as 
a lawyer, and acquired the large estate at the corner of Farm- 
ington Avenue and Sigourney Street where the Aetna Life In- 
surance Company is about to build. Reference has been made 
to his literary productions. Also, in the lower house, were James 
T. Pratt, 1853-1855, and Ezra Clark, Jr., 1855-1859. 

The "free soil" party originated with democrats who be- 
lieved in no slavery in new states; but it drew more from the 
whigs than from the democrats, whose candidate, Cass, however, 
was defeated by General Taylor in 1848, and it held the balance 
of power in the lower house, leaving the Senate alone democratic. 
Four years later the whigs were disorganized by the defeat ot 
their General Scott by the democratic compromise candidate 
Pierce of New Hampshire. The Order of United Americans, a 
mysterious band known as "know nothings" and bringing in pro- 
fessedly the Roman Catholic question, won surprising state vic- 
tories in 1854-5 so that Congress was made up of a variety of 
men representing a variety of sentiments. At this moment of 
the obliteration of the whig party, or 1852, Harriet Beecher 
Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" appeared. 

Meantime the fugitive slave law of 1850 was being enforced 
by southerners, with attendant riots ; a less sensational body than 
the original abolitionists was forming in the North — to be still 
stronger when the Supreme Court was to say, in 1857, that the 
fugitive slave law was constitutional inasmuch as the Missouri 
Compromise was unconstitutional and slaves were mere property 
— and the republican party was born in 1856. This party was 
drawn from the old whigs, from the small parties that had suc- 
ceeded them and also from the anti-slavery democrats. Douglas' 
Kansas-Nebraska bill and "squatter sovereignty" had furnished 
the heat for the welding. The party with Fremont as a candi- 
date was not strong enough to defeat the democrats with Bu- 


chanan, but events were continuing to shape for it. Among these 
other things was the great period of financial depression, due in 
chief measure to over-expansion and speculation following rail- 
road development and industrial rush. John Brown, native of 
Torrington, had begun his work. He had been a not unfamiliar 
figure in Hartford, where he made an address in 1857. While 
sympathy of some was with him in his Kansas settlement plan, 
he was considered somewhat "flighty" and he did not secure the 
Collins Company of Canton to make many spears for him. 

It is only with this background that one gets what it meant 
when such men as Gideon Wells of the Times, Hon. John M. Niles, 
D. F. Robinson, James M. Bunce, Calvin Day, Thomas T. Fisher, 
Jonathan F. Morris, Mark Howard and ninety others subscribed 
$100 each to establish a republican organ with Faxon & Pierce 
as printers. William Faxon retiring, Joseph R. Hawley took his 
interests and was an editor of the Evening Press which resulted 
from this union of interests. The Press merged with the Courant 
in 1867, which paper had been federal, whig and republican but 
latterly had lacked "ginger/' As told elsewhere, the Times con- 
tinued democratic, using every effort to prevent the impend- 
ing war. 

Another item of vital importance in history could be given in 
the one word "Unpreparedness." Till 1848 the law of 1639 had 
been in force — that every citizen, with age limit changed to ages 
between 18 and 45, must be inspected each year as to his supply 
of equipment and be subject to drill. The state latterly, in the 
period of Adjt.-Gen. Charles T. Hillyer of Granby, Adjt.-Gen. 
Joseph D. Williams (1855-1863) and Maj-Gen. James T. Pratt 
of Hartford and Rocky Hill, whose names are prominent in other 
parts of this history, had furnished a few flint-lock guns and the 
Federal Government yearly had allowed $200,000 towards guns 
for all states, an amount fixed in 1808 and not changed till 1860. 
In 1848 the militia numbered 53,191, infantry, artillery and 
heavy artillery, in six brigades of a total of 960 companies. The 
law was just coming in for distinction between active and in- 
active militia, those not enrolled as active or above age 35 to pay 
poll tax, and from this fund the actives would be paid $1.50 a day 



- . j. . 


iwl fid 

"- ■*££*'' 


Major Clifford D. Perkins at the head; Staff Adjutant, Captain E. C. Bigelow; Chief 
of Staff, Lieutenant Frank E. Soule; First Company, Captain George Webb, command- 
ing; Second Company, Captain Ernest Walker 


for three days' field service each year. The divisions were cut 
down to one, two brigades. The three days' tour of duty was 
marked by much display on the part of higher officers, the com- 
panies dressed in uniforms of their own selection for the most 
part and where there were uniforms. Headquarters usually were 
at some tavern and the drill field was nearby. Interest waned 
rapidly. At the outbreak of the war there were not enough or- 
ganized and equipped companies in the whole state to form one 
effective regiment, and that, too, though Governor Buckingham 
several weeks in advance of the President's call had issued a 
warning to be ready. The consequent expense in men and treas- 
ure was tremendous. 

To keep in mind the men of the Revolution, to form a social 
club and to do honor to Hon. William H. Seymour on his return 
from Russia where he had been United States minister, 150 well 
known citizens met on August 9, 1858, and formed a military 
organization to bear the name of the Putnam Phalanx in honor 
of the hero of several wars in the previous century. Among 
those on the first roster were Alfred E. Burr of the Times, Pliny 
Jewell, Jr., Gen. C. T. Hillyer and Gen. J. T. Pratt, and the first 
commandant was Maj. Horace Goodwin (aged 71) with a staff 
composed of J. D. Williams, Asher Moore, E. B. Strong, Henry 
C. Deming, A. S. Stillman, J. B. Crosby, Otis Smith, A. M. Gor- 
don, D. P. Francis, Thomas Miner, W. J. Shany, Bruning Mance, 
C. T. Martin, and I. William Stuart. The uniform selected was 
patterned after that of General Washington, the guns were the 
old-time flint-locks and the tactics those of Baron Von Steuben. 
The greeting parade for Governor Seymour was a success, and 
since that time there have been parades on patriotic occasions 
here and in many states and cities where the "Puts" are highly 
honored. The organization was incorporated in 1877. In 1891 
it went into an armory built for it at the corner of Pearl and 
Haynes streets, whence it moved in 1927 to its present armory on 
Washington Street. Especially good work has it done in collect- 
ing historical relics; those of General Putnam include his famous 
plow and saddle. Its roster of officers and men always has in- 
cluded the names of prominent citizens of this and neighboring 
towns, usually of middle age. During the wars since 1858 the 


phalanx has done escort duty and has given aid in every way 
it could. 

The political campaign of 1860 was fiercely fought. An inci- 
dent of it was the first appearance of torches in night parades. 
The local company of which James S. Chalker was captain was 
large and especially well drilled. During a halt one evening in 
front of a store on Main Street one of the men went in and bought 
a piece of glazed cloth to put over his shoulders to protect his 
coat from the drippings of his torch. At the next parade the 
whole battalion was arrayed in brilliant capes of that material, 
and thus the famous Hartford Wide Awakes originated the cos- 
tume so popular in campaigns for thirty years thereafter. Lin- 
coln appeared here and spoke at the City Hall. He was a sur- 
prise to the people as he had been in New York, but he was the 
approved leader and it was the cause more than the man that 
the republicans had in mind. 

Sumter was fired on Friday, April 12, 1861. "Battle Sun- 
day," when Sumter was abandoned, was a day of deep solemnity. 
There were street meetings as well as stirring services in the 
churches. Political distinctions were forgotten. Editor Burr 
still held out against coercion but in the manly tone of one much 
respected. Gideon Welles was in Washington as Lincoln's secre- 
tary of war and William Faxon was his chief clerk. William 
W. Eaton alone declared that no soldier should pass through this 
state southward except over his dead body, and in that hour of 
his excitement he was called a "fire-eater." Liberty poles were 
springing up on every village green throughout the county and 
state. Had Lincoln's first call (April 15) been for twice 75,000 
men, those who could not get in under the quota by the actual call 
would have filled it. The governor's call was issued April 16. In 
his editorial room, Hawley drafted a paper, signed it, passed it 
to Albert W. Drake of Windsor and to Joseph Perkins of Hart- 
ford who signed it and before night the list for Rifle Company A 
was complete. George S. Burnham, who had been captain of 
the Hartford Light Guard, was chosen captain, Hawley first lieu- 
tenant, Drake second. The first of these was to become colonel 
(of the Twenty-second) ; the second, major-general by brevet and 
the third, colonel (of the Tenth) before his death in 1862. The 
formal enlistment papers were not made out till April 18. Mean- 


Of Glastonbury and Hartford. Editorial 
writer on the Times and Lincoln's Secre- 
tary of the Navy 


Of Hartford and New Haven. Colonel Seventh Con- 
necticut Volunteers; Major-General volunteers in 
Civil War. Brigadier-General, U. S. A., in Indian 


time on April 16, Capt. John C. Comstock of the Light Guard 
had enrolled most of his men as Infantry Company A, William 
H. Hoffman and George S. Gouge lieutenants. On the 19th, Ira 
Wright as captain and Justin H. Chapman and Daniel C. Rod- 
man as lieutenants had enlisted the men for Infantry Com- 
pany B. On the 20th Windsor Locks, Enfield, Thompsonville, 
Simsbury and other towns had contributed Infantry Company 
C, under Levi N. Hillman and Stoddard E. Horton of Windsor 
Locks as captain and first lieutenant. From New Britain, under 
date of the 20th, came Capt. Frederick W. Hart, captain, and 
Lieutenants William G. Cunningham and Oscar M. Butler with 
Company G, in which were several Farmington and Southing- 
ton men. The other companies were from Meriden, Bridgeport, 
Waterbury and Danbury. 

Service was to be for only three months under the then law 
for militia in putting down an insurrection. Most of those who 
had not followed the history as here outlined, and did not know 
the South, believed that three months would be long enough and 
75,000 men sufficient. Such optimism was in contrast with the 
grimness of 1775. The Legislature not being in session the gov- 
ernor could get no appropriation, but already he had pledged his 
own money and in four clays after the call the companies from 
Hartford were in rendezvous camp for the First Regiment in 
New Haven. Daniel Tyler of the Regular Army quickly accepted 
the colonelcy, Burnham was made second in command, Hawley 
captain of his company. Burnham was given command May 10 
when Tyler was made brigadier. In New Haven, the first quar- 
ters were the college buildings. On May 13 the regiment was in 
camp at Washington and General Scott was exclaiming, "Thank 
God, here is one regiment all equipped for service and even with 

On the next day arrived the Second Regiment commanded 
by Alfred H. Terry of New Haven, grandson of Maj. Nathaniel 
Terry of Hartford. Its companies were from New Haven and 
other towns, including Company H of Hartford which had been 
Rifle Company D of the old First Militia, under Capt. James W. 
Gore and Lieutenants Jesse H. Lord and Charles H. Scott, en- 
listments dated April 23. Eight companies had Sharps rifles; 
the others, the Springfields. The President's call was for only 


one regiment from Connecticut but the disappointment of the 
men, not a few of whom had bid as high as $50 for a place in the 
ranks of the first companies, had caused Buckingham to secure 
the acceptance of three. Buckingham was already being looked 
upon much as Washington looked upon Jonathan Trumbull. This 
permission was obtained, the Third came to rendezvous camp in 
Hartford May 9, on the Albany Avenue fair grounds. After re- 
ceiving its colors from the governor in person at the State House, 
it started for Washington May 23. Infantry Company A, which 
had been Rifle Company A in the militia, was commanded by 
George N. Lewis with John Brennan and Lucius B. Bolles as 
lieutenants. Company E had been Rifle Company E in the state 
organization — Capt. John A. Nelson and Lieutenants Harry 
Finnegass and William Wright. The three regiments were 
brigaded under Tyler. 

Individual towns had been carrying the financial burdens 
and furnishing many of the uniforms, the women in groups 
doing the sewing, till the May session of the Legislature enacted 
legislation which stood with little change throughout the four 
years, allowing $30 a month for each man, $6 for the wives and 
$2 for each child. It also directed that 10,000 men should go 
into training to be ready for the next call. As in the Revolution, 
however, there was to be no time for training; only, in this in- 
stance, the opposing armies were about equally unfit. The one 
day of Bull Run was to be the "officers' training camp." Before 
that day of terrible lesson, Hartford men were to be the first 
notable victims. Col. Elmore E. Ellsworth of the Ellsworth 
Zouaves, who was shot May 24 while tearing down Confederate 
colors on an Alexandria hotel in full sight of the Capitol, was the 
grandson of John Ellsworth of Hartford. Capt. James H. Ward, 
the distinguished naval officer who had helped found the Naval 
Academy and who had organized on the Potomac the first flotilla, 
was killed at Acquia Creek June 27. His father was Col. James 
Ward of Hartford, commissary-general of the army in 1812. 

July 16 the Connecticut brigade was the vanguard of the 
army pushing toward Richmond, and finding the enemy at Bull 
Run Creek Tyler advised advance in force. But the army was 
not ready. By the 21st when the engagement began, Washing- 
ton spies had informed Longstreet of his peril and Johnston had 
been called to the field with 18,000 men. Theoretically neither 

Editor of the Courant. Raised first company in 
Hartford for Civil War; Colonel, Seventh Connecti- 
cut Volunteers; Major General; Governor, 1866-67; 
United States Senator, 1881-1905 



side should have been there since neither had had training. But 
war laughs at the untrained. Victory was with the North, 
thought the Connecticut men till they caught their first glimpse 
of the rush toward the bridge to the capital. They kept their 
ranks firm, as though mindful of Putnam and Chester at Bunker 
Hill. In his report General Tyler said : 

"At 7 o'clock Tuesday evening I saw the three Connecti- 
cut regiments, with 2,000 bayonets, march under the guns of 
Fort Corcoran in good order, after having saved us not only 
a large amount of public property, but the mortification of 
seeing our standing camps fall into the hands of the enemy." 

The few good companies of the militia had furnished the 
backbone of the three-months regiments ; the men from Bull Run 
were now to furnish the backbone for the three-years forces. In 
this state over 500 of them became commissioned officers. Some 
of the waiting men went to Meriden and farther down the line 
to join the cavalry and the light batteries, among them Capt. 
W. E. Riley and Lieut. W. Gedney Bunce (later the great artist) 
for the First Cavalry. Edward W. Whitaker, corporal in the 
company Hawley raised, was lieutenant-colonel of that regiment 
and brevet brigadier. The Fourth Infantry which had been 
ready but could not get in under the first call was immediately 
reassembling, in Hartford, around Col. Levi Woodhouse of the 
Mexican war and was forming the famous "First Heavies." 
When Woodhouse resigned in August he was succeeded by Capt. 
Robert O. Tyler of the regular army who was to continue after 
the war as brevet major-general. Thomas S. Trumbull, who had 
risen from sergeant-major to be lieutenant-colonel in 1864 and 
in 1865 succumbed to disease brought on by overwork, was con- 
sidered by artillery authorities to be one of the best officers in 
that arm of the service. He was a graduate of the Harvard Law 
School and was practicing law in New York when he came here 
to do his "bit." Of other Hartford officers, L. G. Hemingway 
was to become major; H. H. Pierce, major and to remain in the 
army, and C. M. Robbins, captain in the colored troops. Sur- 
geon W. W. Skinner of Windsor Locks was to be brevet lieuten- 
ant-colonel. C. H. Owen, who was detailed to Tyler's staff, was 
to be brevet captain after his disabling wound at Cold Harbor. 

Another group of turned-back companies was assembling at 


Colt's Armory to form Colt's Revolving Rifle Regiment under 
the command of Samuel Colt who had his commission as colonel, 
but as they were not willing to go into the Regular Army, the 
plan was abandoned ; the camp was removed from Colt Meadows 
to the corner of Bond and Webster streets and the Fifth Infantry 
was organized under Col. 0. S. Ferry of Norwalk who in 1862 
was succeeded by Maj. George D. Chapman. Frank D. Lane and 
William S. Coggswell became majors, H. S. Smith adjutant and 
E. V. Preston quartermaster. E. E. Marvin of Rockville, later 
to be one of the most prominent Hartford citizens, was captain 
of a company. The Sixth, assembling in New Haven, had Com- 
pany B, men of Hartford and neighboring towns, under Capt. 
B. F. Prouty, and G of New Britain under Capt. John Tracy. 

The Seventh rendezvoused at New Haven under the command 
of Colonel Terry who, on his appointment as brigadier-general, 
was to be succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hawley, and he by 
Capt. D. C. Rodman of Hartford who never recovered from his 
wound at Fort Wagner and died in 1881. In this regiment also 
were Captains D. G. Francis of Hartford, Valentine B. Cham- 
berlain of New Britain and L. C. Sutliff of Southington. The 
Eighth recruited at Camp Buckingham in Hartford under Col. 
Edward Harland of Norwich ; the Ninth and the Ninth Battalion, 
Irish, at New Haven. J. A. Nelson and D. C. Warner of Hart- 
ford and J. W. Graham of Berlin were captains. Of the Tenth, 
which was mustered at Camp Buckingham in September, A. W. 
Drake was lieutenant-colonel and succeeded Colonel Russell. He 
died of consumption in 1862. John L. Otis of Manchester was 
colonel from March in 1863 and brevet brigadier. Maj. Henry 
W. Camp, son of Rev. Henry B. Camp of Hartford and member 
of the storied Yale crew of 1859, every member of which was an 
officer in the army, including Owen already mentioned and J. H. 
Twichell who was to be pastor of the Asylum Hill Congregational 
Church, was to meet a glorious death at Petersburg and his name 
be preserved in one of the finest classics of the war, the "Knightly 
Soldier," written by Chaplain Henry Clay Trumbull of his regi- 
ment and his city. P. W. Hudson of Manchester was one of the 
captains. The Eleventh was a Hartford regiment with many 
members from surrounding towns. Griffin A. Stedman, Jr., Trin- 
ity '59, a man of wealth and high culture who had given up his 
Philadelphia law practice to come back here and get into the serv- 


Statue of General Griffin A. Stedman on Campfield 

Park, indicating Rendezvous Camp for Civil War 



ice, was major and became colonel after Colonel Kingsbury was 
killed at Antietam. His brevet as brigadier-general reached his 
quarters at Petersburg August 5, 1864, the very day he was 
killed. J. H. Converse of Windsor Locks, killed at Cold Harbor, 
was a major in this command. Nathan Mayer was surgeon. 

The Twelfth was the "Charter Oak Regiment." It was or- 
ganized here in the early winter of 1861-2 for the New England 
Division which General Butler desired for his New Orleans cam- 
paign. Henry C. Deming, Yale '36, the democratic orator and 
mayor whose intense loyalty had caused him to be made speaker 
of the House, put aside his earlier views about a war and accepted 
the colonelcy. The duty Butler gave him in Louisiana was that 
of mayor of New Orleans. On his return in 1863, he served two 
terms in Congress. George N. Lewis was lieutenant-colonel. 
J. C. Kinney of Darien, after the war a Courant editor, postmas- 
ter and major of the Foot Guard, was a first lieutenant in the 
Thirteenth, assembling in New Haven. N. W. Perkins of New 
Britain commanded a company in that regiment. 

A camp of instruction at Annapolis was promulgated in 
Washington in May, 1862. The call was for 50,000 to be trained. 
The Fourteenth was to be one of the regiments. Before the 50,000 
could be raised, however, reverses had made it necessary to call 
for 300,000 for immediate service and three years. Bucking- 
ham's appeal was reminiscent of Jonathan Trumbull's. Promptly 
recruits came in at Camp Foote in Hartford and the Fourteenth's 
ranks were filled with men who were to see more fighting than 
those of any other regiment. Adjutant Theodore G. Ellis of 
Hartford went through the grades to the colonelcy in October, 
1863, brevet brigadier in 1865. Capt. Samuel Moore of New 
Britain was promoted to be major and then, in 1862, lieutenant- 
colonel. Levi Jewett of Windsor Locks was assistant surgeon. 
J. E. Blinn of New Britain was one of the bravest captains. 
What that regiment did at Gettysburg alone is enough to give it 
high place in Connecticut annals. The Fifteenth, assembling in 
New Haven, went to the front closely on its heels. In general the 
rendezvous of regiments in Hartford was at what is now marked 
as Campfield Memorial Grounds, to be described later. 

The Sixteenth above all regiments learned what it was to be 
rushed into battle even before it could get its full equipment to- 
gether after its very speedy recruiting in its Hartford camp. It 


was an exceptionally fine body of men. Frank Beach, graduate 
of West Point and son of George Beach, frequently mentioned in 
this history, was the colonel; Frank W. Cheney of South Man- 
chester the lieutenant-colonel; George A. Washburn and Henry 
L. Pasco of Hartford were successively majors, and J. B. Clapp 
(Wethersfield) and Herbert Landon adjutants. Dr. A. S. War- 
ner of Wethersfield was surgeon. Most of the companies were 
from Hartford, one from Enfield and Suffield, one from Canton 
and vicinity and one from Bristol, Capt. Newton S. Manross of 
which town had just been appointed professor at Amherst and 
was one of the most promising officers. The regiment leaving 
here August 29, 1862, was thrown into the fearful battle of An- 
tietam September 17. Cheney was incapacitated by the wounds 
he received and was succeeded by John H. Burnham. In that en- 
gagement the Fourteenth lost Captain Blinn of New Britain, and 
the Sixteenth, Captains Samuel Brown of Enfield, F. M. Barber 
of Manchester, John L. Drake of Hartford and Manross of Bris- 
tol, besides many enlisted men from towns in Hartford County. 
Of the other three-year regiments, Hartford gave three com- 
panies to the Twentieth, led by Col. Samuel Ross who won rank 
of brevet brigadier. C. M. Talcott of New Britain was adjutant, 
following James B. Burbank of Hartford who later went as a pri- 
vate in the Regular Army and continued therein, with brevet 
major of volunteers in 1865. Many men from county towns east 
of the river went in the Twenty-first. Under the call for 300,000 
nine-months men in August, 1862, all of the companies except 
one were from the county, assembling at Camp Halleck in Hart- 
ford under the command of Col. George S. Burnham, Lieut-Col. 
Ellsworth N. Phelps of Windsor and Maj. Herman Glafcke of 
Hartford. Jonathan S. Curtis was surgeon. In the Twenty- 
fourth, assembling at Middletown, there was one Hartford com- 
pany. The Twenty-fifth, Col. George P. Bissell, drew almost en- 
tirely from Hartford County and vicinity, mustering in here in 
the fall. D. H. Stevens of Glastonbury as lieutenant-colonel was 
succeeded by M. C. Weld of Hartford, and Maj. M. E. St. John 
of Simsbury by Thomas McManus of Hartford. H. C. Ward of 
Hartford was lieutenant-colonel of the Thirtieth and colonel of 
the Thirty-first (colored). Richard E. Holcomb of East Granby 
was colonel of Butler's First Louisiana and was killed at Port 


In the navy, besides Secretary Welles were Lieut. -Comman- 
ders Francis M. Bunce and Edward Terry, grandson of Nathan- 
iel, and Henry Howard Brownell of East Hartford, the poet, 
secretary of Admiral Farragut. In the Regular Army J. Hart- 
well Butler of Hartford was brevet-major. At General Terry's 
great victory at Fort Fisher, for which he received promotion 
and the special thanks of Congress — and where the Sixth and 
Seventh and a portion of the First Heavy Artillery were in the 
van of the assault — Paymaster R. H. Gillette of the navy, son of 
Senator Francis Gillette of Hartford, was killed by the explo- 
sion of a magazine. 

Based on three years' service Connecticut sent out 48,181 
men or 6,698 more than her quota, without reference to the last 
call when Connecticut was asked for none. Of this total Hart- 
ford County furnished about one-fourth. The state had about 
80,000 voters and about 50,000 able-bodied men on the militia 
rolls in 1861. The total casualties were 20,572. Readers of war 
history know that the Hartford contingents were in the hardest 
engagements, and, largely because of the capture of many of 
the Sixteenth at Plymouth, had more than their proportion of 
prison experience. 

The county was generous in voting money for support of 
soldiers' families and also, following the old custom, for bounties 
till bounty-jumping and attendant deserting became scandalous. 
It frowned upon the purchase of substitutes except when it was 
apparent that a man could not be spared from duties at home. 
There had not been even the beginning of the science of man- 
power which were to be seen in the World war, nor was there 
organization in the production of material. Colt's, Sharps' and 
the concerns from which they drew for equipment were running- 
day and night, which makes it more remarkable that Hartford 
County was able to send so many. Of bounty-jumpers and de- 
serters, the adjutant-general in his final report was glad to re- 
mark that none of them was of Connecticut origin; mostly they 
were "professionals" from other states. Comparatively little was 
heard in this section about the enforcement of the draft, so re- 
pulsive to American sentiment except in a community where 
there are evaders. Of rioting there was none; of "copperheads," 
or democrats who proclaimed the war a failure, there were few. 


Irish and Germans made up most of the alien class and, with the 
English, their patriotism was most creditable. 

Chaplain Twichell was wont to tell of an incident when his 
regiment was bivouacing alongside of an Irish command and he 
met the Catholic chaplain looking for a place to rest. Mr. 
Twichell threw himself on the ground and called the priest to 
share his blanket with him. Soon after Mr. Twichell could feel 
the priest shaking with laughter. This aroused his curiosity. 
"I'm laughing," replied the priest to his inquiry, "to think what 
the saints are saying as they look down and see a Catholic priest 
and Protestant clergyman sleeping out here under the same 

From the first week to the last, the women of the county were 
tireless in their work. The Hartford Aid Association, for which 
large amounts of money and supplies were given, was in opera- 
tion several months before the organization of the United States 
Sanitary Commission. Mrs. John Olmstead and Mrs. S. S. Cowen 
were particularly active. 

One of the most generous of givers for all causes and espe- 
cially of equipment for officers was David Clark who in 1865 was 
for a time owner of the Post. In later years the Post was under 
the management of J. M. Spalding and in its last days, before 
being taken over by the Times, of John A. Porter. 

The Hartford City Guard was maintained by members of the 
militia who were unable to go to the front. One of its functions 
was to train men to recruit the companies in service, especially 
the unit that had gone with Artillery Company A, the original 
designation, as its nucleus. Colonel Burnham and Lieut. L. A. 
Dickinson had been of that company. At one time it was called 
out to guard the arsenal. Today its descendant is Company F 
of the local regiment, the One Hundred and Sixty-ninth Infan- 
try. It was immediately after the war that the state military 
units were reorganized, the first to use the French name, Na- 
tional Guard. In 1871, the number of regiments was cut down 
to one for each of the four congressional districts, ten companies 
each for maximum, sixty-eight men to a company, and later one 
machine-gun platoon to a regiment, and a battery of light artil- 
lery. Brigade formation was abolished in 1907, after the 
passage of the Dick bill, when more attention to uniformity 
throughout the country was the purpose of the guardsmen them- 


selves. Brigade encampments gave way to regimental and the 
Federal Government was more actively cooperating. 

The posts of the Grand Army of the Republic in the county 
in 1927, with number of post in the state department, names of 
commanders and the number of members: 

Nathaniel Lyon, 2, Hartford, Henry Lewis 13 members 

Stanley, 11, New Britain, S. H. Wood 10 members 

Gilbert W. Thompson, 13, Bristol, E. H. Allen . 8 members 

Robert 0. Tyler, 50, Hartford, Nathan Coe 33 members 

Newton S. Manross, 57, Forestville, A. P. 

Stark 1 member 

A. E. Burnside, 62, Unionville, J. H. Davis 5 members 

Daniel C. Rodman, 65, East Hartford, W. H. 

Brewer 5 members 

John M. Morris, 66, Wethersfield 2 members 

Important in the functions of all organizations are the 
Department of Instruction, assisted by the Boy and Girl 
Scouts among others, and participation in the affairs of the 
Soldiers' Home at Noroton. There also is the Woman's Re- 
lief Corps which always has been an aid to the G. A. R. — 
one for each post. The Ladies of the G. A. R., recently or- 
ganized, give particular attention to school instruction. The 
Hartford tent is named for Lizabeth A. Turner. The Sons 
of Veterans, since 1927 the Sons of Union Veterans — teach 
patriotism and duties of citizenship. The Hartford organi- 
zations are Griffin A. Stedman Camp No. 9 and Hartford 
Camp, No. 50. 




From the end of the war till the '80s was a period of painful 
readjustment which, with all its tragedies, left no physical scars 
on a community of Hartford's enterprise. There were terrible 
struggles over the monetary standard in particular and calls for 
help from the Freedmen's Bureau at work in the South, re- 
sponded to by many including a number who had been engaged 
in educational work there before the war. Among these latter 
was Rev. John A. B. Rogers of the local Catholic Apostolic Church 
who had founded Berea College in Kentucky, in association with 
Rev. Francis Hawley, father of General Hawley, at that time 
a worker in North Carolina for higher standards; the college 
had been closed during the war but Mr. Johnson went back and 
reestablished it for children without distinction as to color. 

In the remnants of returning regiments there were men for 
public affairs as well as thousands of skillful mechanics and in- 
telligent farmers whose places awaited them. The state, nor- 
mally a close one politically, had reelected Buckingham succes- 
sively through to 1866 (Julius Catlin lieutenant-governor from 
1858 to 1861), though in the third year of the war the governor 
might have been defeated but for the vote of the soldiers in the 
field, Thomas H. Seymour opposing him on a "peace" platform. 
(Seymour, whose portrait, by vote of the Legislature, was turned 
face to the wall in the Capitol throughout the war, had thirty- 
eight votes for nomination for President at the democratic na- 
tional convention that year.) Hawley followed Buckingham in 
office, carried on by his own popularity and also by the wave of 
sentiment continuing so strong after the assassination of Lin- 


(Collection of Morgan B. Biainard) 



From spire of South Congregational Church, Main Street, looking north. On west side 
of street, to reader's left: South Baptist Church, Center Church, Christ Church; to 
the west of them, Pearl Street Congregational Church and North (Fourth) Congrega- 
tional Church. East side: Second Baptist Church, St. John's Episcopal Church (taper- 
ing spire); dimly beyond it, old statehouse dome. In right midground: Prospect 
Street, with fine residences, the one with pillars being George M. Bartholomew's; just 
beyond it, the Daniel Wadsworth homestead 


coin, but at the end of the year, the democrats were victorious. 
In the next election, Marshall Jewell won, was defeated the next 
year, then won again narrowly, after investigation of the appar- 
ent majority for his democratic competitor, and served two 
terms, or till 1873. After this second term, the democrats were 
successful for four terms and then again for the first of the pres- 
ent two-years terms, the candidate being Hartford's eminent law- 
yer and orator, Richard D. Hubbard. His successor also was a 

Governor Jewell was appointed by President Grant minis- 
ter to Russia and a year later to be postmaster-general, which 
position he resigned in 1876. He was chairman of the Repub- 
lican National Committee till his death. Governor Hubbard 
(1818-1884) was a native of Berlin and a member of the law 
firm of Waldo, Hubbard & Hyde. He had been representative in 
the Legislature, state's attorney, and congressman in 1867. The 
statue of him on the Capitol grounds was provided for in the will 
of his friend, George D. Sargeant. 

General Hawley succeeded Julius L. Strong in the lower house 
of Congress in 1873 and served another term in 1879-81, enter- 
ing upon his long series of terms as senator in the latter year 
(till 1905). In 1868 he was chairman of the republican conven- 
tion which unanimously nominated Grant, who, in his letter of 
acceptance to Hawley, wrote the words which became the cam- 
paign slogan, "Let us have peace." In his address at the conven- 
tion, attacking the talk of repudiation among some of the opposi- 
tion, Hawley uttered the words that made another slogan — 
"Every bond must be as sacred as a soldier's grave." In 1876 
Hawley was president of the Philadelphia Centennial Commis- 
sion for the exhibition which did much to bring North and South 

William W. Eaton (1814-1898), a native of Tolland and four 
years in business in Columbia, S. C, had been in both houses of 
the Legislature before removing to Hartford, and while a resi- 
dent in Hartford had been speaker of the House in 1853, a mem- 
ber in 1863 (the "peace-campaign" year) and again in 1868, 
continuing there till 1874 when Governor Ingersoll appointed him 
to the Senate to complete the term of Senator Buckingham who 
had died. He was sent to Washington again, as representative, 
in 1883. 


Gideon Welles (1802-1878) continued as secretary of the 
navy through Johnson's administration, after which he returned 
to live among his old friends. He was born in Glastonbury. As 
an adherent of Jackson's, he made his influence felt through the 
columns of the Times. Beginning with 1827, he served two terms 
in the Legislature and three terms as comptroller, and was chief 
of the bureau of clothing and provisions in the navy department 
in 1846-49. As a republican he was delegate to the convention 
that nominated Lincoln. In 1872 he joined the liberal repub- 
licans and in 1876 supported Tilden. 

For the period here reviewed mention also should be made of 
the fact that throughout the war J. Hammond Trumbull was sec- 
retary of state. Charles M. Pond was treasurer in 1870 and 
George G. Sill was lieutenant-governor in 1873-77. 

What was to prove to be epochal in the religious, literary and 
social life of the city was the formation of the society for the 
Asylum Hill Congregational Church in 1864. Leading men who 
believed the development of the city to the westward warranted a 
Congregational church on the "Hill," where Prof. Calvin E. Stowe 
was holding Bible classes, came together on February 3 of that 
year with A. G. Hammond as chairman. Erastus Collins pre- 
sented the subject and with Samuel Coit and A. M. Hurlburt 
was made a committee to secure the approval of the other 
churches. On June 16 organization was perfected, J. M. Allen, 
clerk, J. S. Tryon, treasurer, and a building committee composed 
of Mr. Coit, Mr. Allen, Henry French and Newton Case. The 
committee on pastor, Mr. Hammond, Mr. Tryon, Mr. Collins, Rev. 
J. R. Keep and John Beach, in due time recommended Rev. Jos- 
eph H. Twichell who came on December 13, 1865. The first mem- 
bers were thirty-three from the North Church, twenty-five from 
the Pearl Street, four from the Fourth, two from the South and 
ten from outside these parishes. Their first year, while holding 
their meetings in the old West Middle schoolhouse, they erected 
their brownstone edifice, for which Roland Mather gave the spire 
and his daughter the clock. 

Mr. Twichell (1838-1918) who had been chaplain of the Sev- 



Pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational 
Church, Hartford 



enty-first New York Volunteers, was born in Stonington and had 
graduated at Yale in 1859, where, as has been said, he was a 
member of the first famous crew, and where he was to serve many- 
years as a member of the corporation. From his coming till he 
was made pastor emeritus in 1911, he lent distinction to the 
church and to the town in whose civic and literary life he played 
a prominent part. His first American ancestor, Joseph, had 
been a member of Hooker's party out of England, and he had had 
his theological training at both Union and Andover seminaries. 
With special zeal for the mission work in which his church was 
a leader, he always inculcated the spirit of patriotism and, there- 
fore, it was as by inheritance of his brave ideals that his suc- 
cessor at the time of the World war, Rev. Dr. John Brownlee 
Voorhees, gave his life in Y. M. C. A. service overseas. At the age 
of thirty-seven Dr. Voorhees had come here in 1912, with his 
bride, after serving in the Union Reformed Church of New York 
and in domestic missions, and he had upheld the worthy traditions 
of the parish. 

Mr. Twichell — he would not accept the degree of LL.D. till 
in his last years — found among those welcoming him one who 
for sixty years was a civic and religious leader, Rev. Edwin 
Pond Parker (1836-1920) who had succeeded Rev. Walter 
C. Clark as pastor of the Second or South Church in 1860. One 
of his ancestors was William Parker, of the Thomas Hooker 
party, and another was one of the settlers of New Haven. His 
mother was a relative of Dr. Joel Hawes of the First Church and 
of Rev. 0. E. Daggett of the Second Church. He was born in 
Castine, Me., and was graduated at Bowdoin and at Bangor 
Theological Seminary. His broad views, especially on "future 
probation," caused a discussion in the religious press which con- 
tinued for several years. The hymns he wrote will live long, 
while several of his addresses are among Hartford's classics. He 
and "Father" Fisher were the first formally elected chaplains of 
the Legislature. He was a member of the Yale corporation from 
1895 to 1919 where he was associated with Mr. Twichell and 
Rev. Dr. George Leon Walker, making three from the commun- 
ity that fought hard to have the college locate here in its early 
days. After he resigned in 1911 he was made pastor emeritus. 


Asylum Hill and South Main Street did not seem so far apart 
as they did before the war. For street cars had come. They 
came in 1863, the same year the first letter boxes had appeared 
around the center. The horse-railroad company to run toward 
Wethersfield had been incorporated two years before the war, 
but it was not till April, 1863, that the first car appeared on the 
line to Spring Grove Cemetery, and in March one ran as far as 
the railroad station and back again to the old State House. It 
was not till 1872 that one could ride all the way to the top of 
Asylum Hill, by aid of an extra horse on the steep grade. Elec- 
tric cars were run on the Wethersfield line in September, 1888, 
to Glastonbury in 1892, to the South Windsor line in 1895 — 
which marked the end of horse service. Subsequent develop- 
ment is described elsewhere. 

Charles C. Goodrich, native of Wethersfield, organized the 
first company to transport freight on the river. The company 
failed in 1882 and was bought by the Hartford and New York 
Transportation Company, Mr. Goodrich continuing as vice presi- 
dent till his death in 1921. 

The feeling that Hartford was the more suitable place for 
state business and should be the single capital gained ground 
after the war. Despite New Haven's protests, the vote went 
that way and the last session of the Legislature was held in New 
Haven in 1874. The decision was influenced by Hartford's gen- 
erous offers, in accord with which city bonds were issued up to 
a total of $1,100,000 for expenses which amounted to $2,532,524 
for land and building. Hartford had bargained with Trinity 
for its site at $600,000, the college to have the use of the build- 
ings till 1877, and the college moved to its present location on 
Rocky Ridge, far more desirable for its purposes. The Capi- 
tol site is unexcelled by any in the country, the grounds being 
practically a part of Bushnell Park. The building, of East 
Canaan marble, which was begun in 1872 and finished in 1878 — 
of secular Gothic design. 300 feet long and 257 feet from the 
ground line to the top of the Genius of Connecticut which sur- 
mounts the dome — is near the railroad station, to be seen by all 
passing through, separated from the tracks by what is now 
called the Park River. The curve the river makes to the vicinity 


of the station and then around by the Memorial Arch to the 
southeast seems almost artificial as it allows the broad sweep of 
lawn, the Corning fountain and the terrace as one looks toward 
the majestic building from the station and across Asylum Street. 
The special joy of Chairman A. E. Burr of the commission was 
that the total cost was within the appropriation. Other mem- 
bers of the commission were Jeremiah Halsey — descendant of 
the one of the same name connected with the building of the Bul- 
finch State House — Nathaniel Wheeler, William P. Trowbridge, 
Austin Dunham, Gardner P. Barber, Franklin Chamberlain. 
Richard Upjohn was architect; J. G. Batterson, builder; Gen. 
W. B. Franklin, superintendent. The State House, as elsewhere 
told, was turned over to the city for a City Hall. 

Simultaneously an object of modern execration was going up 
on the park to the east of the historic State House, that object 
being the government building, of what was then a standardized 
architecture, mansard roof and ungainly in its proportions. It 
should be said that the "square", with the fountain the poet 
thought was immortal, had become a sort of catch-all and was 
about as unsightly as the government building is to modern eyes. 
The long drawn-out sequel will be related later; hearts long sick 
with deferred hope are now convalescent. The government re- 
quired from 1873 to 1882 to build the monstrosity. In the prac- 
tical phase of it, it was outgrown fifteen years ago. 

The Catholics, as previously indicated, in this period, in the 
year 1876, had broken ground on the old Morgan farm on Farm- 
ington Avenue for their cathedral. In 1878 the Sisters of Mercy 
had acquired land at Mount St. Augustine on Quaker Lane, 
West Hartford, for their school for young boys; in 1880 the for- 
mer home of Rose Terry Cooke on Albany Road for St. Mary's 
Home for the aged, and there were soon to follow St. Joseph's 
Convent with its academy; St. Catherine's Convent and Asylum 
for Girls, St. Joseph's Asylum for Boys, the Sacred Heart Con- 
vent of Mercy, St. Joseph's parochial school on Capitol Avenue, 
St. Peter's parochial school for girls on Franklin Avenue, the boys' 
school of St. Patrick's under the charge of the Christian Brothers 
— and much similar building in New Britain and elsewhere 
around the county. 


The foundations of the $17,000,000 Travelers Insurance 
Company were laid by James G. Batterson in a way described in 
the analysis of his career, given on another page. It reads some- 
thing like a fairy tale but there were items of administration in 
the '60s that would have been enough to daunt less determined 
men. By the charter of 1863 the capital was placed at $100,000. 
Organizing in 1864, the directors were Mr. Batterson, Ebenezer 
Roberts, W. H. D. Callender, Thomas Belknap, Jr., James L. 
Howard, Charles White, George W. Moore, C. B. Erwin, Mar- 
shall Jewell, Hugh Harbison, G. F. Davis, G. S. Gilman and J. B. 
Bunce — Mr. Batterson president, Mr. Davis vice president and 
Rodney Dennis secretary, the company to insure people against 
accident. All were comparatively young men who had to face 
a wholly new problem, working out the company's salvation. 
Similar companies were springing up elsewhere which were to 
succumb to the difficulties that always were besetting. The Rail- 
way Passengers Assurance Company, with headquarters here 
and Mr. Batterson as president, was formed by seven companies 
in 1866, of which the Travelers was the one survivor and the re- 
insurer of the rest, and soon was turning the business over to 
its ticket department. In 1874, venturesome men, with Rich- 
ard D. Hubbard as figurehead, went out to form the Hartford 
Accident; it lived two years. Meantime the Travelers had taken 
up life insurance, by stock plan, with such success that it was 
fortified against the perils from the still confusing accident 
business; a 25 per cent dividend was paid in 1865 and stock was 
increased to $500,000, and to remain at that till stock dividends 
made it $1,000,000 in 1892. It had its own building on Prospect 
Street in 1872. 

But that is only a part of the chapter of the unending ro- 
mance of Hartford in insurance. These boiler explosions which 
were causing such mortality in Hartford as elsewhere were due 
largely to man's careless familiarity with the great giant, Steam. 
Young men like E. K. Root, F. A. Pratt, Amos W. Whitney, E. M. 
Reed, Charles F. Howard and J. M. Allen, with Prof. C. B. Rich- 
ards of Yale as a helper, had formed the Polytechnic Club in 
1857, the one thought being the study of causes and prevention, 
not insurance. From that earnest beginning of students not in- 
surance men, looking deeply into the principles of prevention, de- 





veloped with the aid of local insurance genius that which has 
overcome the terror which threatened to limit the value of steam 
to mankind. The outcome, delayed by the war, was the Hart- 
ford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, for whose 
scientific guidance employers of the giant have been glad 
to pay liberally. Hence the business ranks as insurance of 
a most valuable type in the progress of civilization. The first 
directors were Henry Kellogg of insurance experience; R. W. H. 
Jarvis who was to be one of the strong men at Colt's; Frank W. 
Cheney, head of Cheney Brothers' silk industry ; and others more 
concerned in the harnessing of steam than in insurance as hith- 
erto popularly conceived — J. A. Butler, C. M. Beach, J. B. Bunce, 
Daniel Phillips, G. M. Bartholomew, J. G. Batterson, Marshall 
Jewell, E. M. Reed, and several from other cities, for the interest 
naturally was nation wide. And Jeremiah M. Allen, of whom 
one reads much in Hartford history, was chosen president. As 
he could not accept at once Enoch C. Roberts was called to the 
position. Disaster impended through the failure of the employ- 
ers of steam to grasp immediately the scientific idea, and in 1867 
Mr. Allen was prevailed upon to return from New York to take 
up the difficult task of chief executive. The company continued 
to occupy only one small room, but the thoroughness of its in- 
spection service was saving it from losses, state insurance de- 
partments were enthusiastic and in 1869 began the continuous 
period of dividends not less than 10 per cent. 

The disaster of the Chicago fire in 1871 has been reviewed 
and the fall of the State Mutual, to be followed by the strong 
Orient of today with its affiliations. Likewise mention has been 
made of the beginnings of the Connecticut General Life Insur- 
ance Company in 1866 whose first directors were J. M. Niles, 
E. W. Parsons, T. W. Russell, E. K. Kellogg, G. D. Jewett, J. G. 
Batterson, C. M. Pond, Leverett Brainard, W. G. Allen, F. B. 
Cooley, C. F. Webster, H. J. Johnson, and representatives from 
Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Baltimore and Boston. Mr. Par- 
sons succeeded Mr. Niles as temporary president, Mr. Russell 
being secretary. 

In this connection should be mentioned P. Henry Woodward 
(1833-1917), quiet, unassuming — one of the city's best history- 
builders. His birthplace was Franklin. Graduated at Yale in 
1855 and studying law, he came here in editorial capacity on the 


Courant during the war. In 1865 for what in itself was a life 
achievement, he accepted an appointment in the postal service at 
Washington. The first year he helped reconstruct the railway 
branch of the service in the southwest and in 1874 became chief 
of another branch, retiring about the time Grant dismissed Sec- 
retary of the Treasury Bristow and the postmaster general. 
Thomas L. James, Garfield's postmaster-general, recalled him to 
take charge of the investigation of the Star Route frauds which 
resulted in the saving of millions of dollars. With the change 
of administration in 1885, he returned to Hartford where he 
found opportunity to exercise his genius for research by com- 
piling, in conjunction with the Board of Trade of which he was 
made secretary, a history of Hartford's enterprises and institu- 
tions. Among his subsequent publications was, in 1897, the first 
complete detailed history of insurance in the state. In 1899 he 
began as vice president to give of his superior knowledge of 
finance to the Connecticut General and continued in office till his 
death. The company since has had the benefit of the genius of 
his son, Charles G. Woodward, along similar lines. 

"Accident" was the feature in name and scope of the Hart- 
ford Life when chartered in 1866. In two years it was changed 
to include life and then annuity, with little success till 1880 when 
H. P. Duclos of Vermont had devised his system of assessmentism 
with safety-fund feature. At that time, however, assessment- 
ism was being legislated against, territory was cut down, and 
after changes in administration and ownership, the life part of 
the business was sold to J. G. Hoyt of Cincinnati, to become a 
part of the Missouri State Life. The assessment feature has to 
be continued here, without new business, till such time as the 
amount at risk shall drop to the point where the safety funds 
(one for men and one for women) can be divided among sur- 
vivors according to the provisions of the charter. 

The state insurance department, created in 1865, was not 
established till Dr. George S. Miller of Enfield (later superin- 
tendent of agencies in the Phoenix Mutual Life) was appointed 
commissioner and John M. Holcomb (later president of the 
Phoenix Mutual Life) actuary. 






To furnish a review of the works of the Hartford Literary 
Colony is not within the scope of county history. Something of 
the atmosphere and effect does, however, belong to the study of 
the life of the Constitution Towns. There is in these pages 
occasional reference to "Nook Farm," for comparison with 
which there is nothing in New England except the quite differ- 
ent "Brook Farm" of Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau and their 
friends. Nook Farm dates from Constitution days when it was 
part of an apportionment, as "the nook," to Governor Haynes, 
it taking its name from the nook caused by the winding of Little 
River between present Farmington Avenue and Laurel Street. 
The hundred acres between Imlay Street and this river was 
bought of W. H. Imlay by John Hooker and Francis Gillette in 
1853 for their home lots and farms. Hooker was a lineal de- 
scendant of the founder; Gillette, whose senatorship has been 
mentioned, was a descendant of settlers of Bloomfield where he 
had a unique home of rough stone and where he had won a name 
as an abolitionist which had caused him to be drafted three times 
for candidate for governor on the Free Soil ticket. In these 
fields and woods, each built a residence of architectural design 
which has held its own through the years, Hooker's of brick 
on the lane now Forest Street, near Hawthorn; Gillette to the 
northwest, west of the lane and on a wooded bluff overlooking 
the stream. Mr. Gillette's wife was Mr. Hooker's sister. 

When in 1860 Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900), a native 
of Plainfield, Mass., gave up his law practice in Chicago at the 
request of his Hamilton College classmate, Joseph R. Hawley, 



to be editor with him of the Press, he occupied a cottage near Mr. 
Hooker's where Mrs. Edward Hooker, mother of John, had been 
living. Later Mr. Warner removed to the brick house Thomas 
C. Perkins had built, across Hawthorn Street from Hooker's 
and also still standing. 

It was there, while editor on the Courant with Mr. Hawley, 
that Mr. Warner whimsically tried his hand at gardening and 
wrote his papers which, when published in 1871 as "My Summer 
in a Garden," brought him his first literary fame. 

Samuel L. Clemens, "Mark Twain" (1835-1910), a native 
of Florida, Mo., was stopping at Mr. Hooker's house at this time 
while reading the proof of his first book for his publishers, the 
American Publishing Company. Meanwhile, he and Mr. War- 
ner together wrote "The Gilded Age" which Mr. Clemens suc- 
cessfully dramatized. Mr. Warner's brother, George H. Warner, 
also of literary proclivity, married Mr. Gillette's daughter Elisa- 
beth, for whom Mr. Gillette built a house a little north of his in 
what was then the popular "Gillette Woods," a wonderful cluster 
of chestnuts, beeches and oaks. On the death of Mr. Gillette in 
1879, his daughter and her husband returned to the homestead 
where they lived until 1904, and on removing South continued to 
own it till they sold it to Lucius F. Robinson, 2d, Prof. Henry 
A. Perkins and John M. Gallup in 1921, they being adjoining- 
residents. Mr. Warner, the author, removed to the house his 
brother had occupied, and that was his residence till his death in 
1900; after that, the residence of his wife till her death and of 
Miss Mary Barton, a member of the family who with her brother, 
Philip P. Barton, now owns it. Mr. Hawley in the earlier days 
was living near his former law partner, Mr. Hooker, south of 
Hawthorn Street. 

In 1873, Mr. Clemens built a house in this same grove on 
the river bluff, on Farmington Avenue, giving a deck and pilot- 
house effect to the front, in recollection of his steamboat days. 
The kitchen part of the house looked toward Farmington Ave- 
nue — the front toward Mr. Warner's house with the grounds of 
which it was connected by a well beaten path. The house was 
unique in certain of its features, including its billiard room. 
Here, with his local friends and those from a distance, he enjoyed 
life to the utmost till, after buying out his New York publishers, 


America's greatest humorist 


Charles L. Webster & Company, and after the success of Grant's 
''Memoirs," fate turned against him. 

A heavy investment in an unsuccessful typesetting machine 
contributed to financial disaster in 1894. To him and Mrs. Clem- 
ens, a much more serious loss was sustained in the death of their 
oldest daughter, Susan, who died at the home here while Mr. 
Clemens with his wife was on a lecture tour of the world earning 
money to pay his creditors. The money raised and debts paid, a 
dinner was given in his honor in New York. During this time 
of grief and hardship he had written "Joan of Arc," "Pudd'n 
Head Wilson" and other books, and had been honored with the 
degree of Litt. D. at Yale and, in 1907, at Oxford. He could not 
bring himself to return to his old home ; instead he traveled much 
and built an Italian villa at Redding, Conn. His daughter Clara 
married Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the Russian pianist. In the sketch 
of his life published after his death, his recollection of one or two 
Hartford men and incidents was faulty. The judgment of liter- 
ateurs today is that he was the greatest humorist of his times — 
if not of any times. 

Mr. Warner was editor and his brother George an assistant 
editor of the "Library of the World's Best Literature," the last 
great work which Mr. Clemens' publishing house undertook and 
was obliged to pass on to another. As editor of the "Editor's 
Drawer" and then as editor of the "Editor's Study" of Harper's 
Magazine Mr. Warner continued till his death. His earlier works 
were luminous descriptions of his travels in Oriental lands. Col- 
lections of essays vied in popularity with his novels like "A Little 
Journey in the World," "The Golden House" and "That For- 
tune." He gave much of his time to the cause of uplift for the col- 
ored race and at home was a member of the park board and of 
the state sculpture commission. His connection with the Cour- 
ant is taken up at the time of his death. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), daughter of Lyman 
Beecher and Roxanna Foote, wife of Prof. Calvin E. Stowe, was 
born in Litchfield, but of the many places she lived in, Hartford 
was the only one she called home. Most of her "teens" she was 
here, as pupil and as teacher in the school of her sister Catherine. 
With her she helped establish a seminary in Cincinnati, after her 
father had gone there to Lane Theological Seminary. The wife 
of the distinguished Professor Stowe, in Cincinnati, at Bowdoin 


College and at Andover Theological Seminary, rearing a family 
of six children, nursing them through a cholera epidemic while 
she herself was far from well, suffering pangs of poverty and 
writing industriously for periodicals, and withal taking deeply 
to heart the glimpses she caught of slavery across the Ohio, she 
was sending the most cheerful letters to her brother Henry Ward 
Beecher, her invalided husband and other members of the large 
family and, when she could, getting to Hartford to visit her 
sister Mary, Mrs. Thomas C. Perkins of Nook Farm. Her first 
earnings of importance were $300 she received in 1851 from the 
National Era of Washington, of which John G. Whittier was cor- 
responding editor. This was for her serial, "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin." The enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act was what 
drove her to make the time to write the story. It appeared at a 
period when the methods of the extreme abolitionists were dis- 
affecting many; it united millions in this country and in Europe 
in the belief that human beings could not be property. Her work 
in assembling data, much more laborious than the writing, came 
during the months at the Bowdoin College town of Brunswick, 
Me., when she was carrying on single-handed for her whole fam- 
ily and teaching outside. The 10 per cent royalty on the story 
in book form yielded $10,000 in four months, after which it was 
an Aladdin's lamp. She was welcomed by royalty in England 
and visited other countries where high and low paid her honor. 
In the meantime her other books were coming out, quaintly pic- 
turing New England life. Literary celebrities of every land 
were in intimate correspondence with her; James Russell Lowell 
was writing that it was her genius in her first book still more 
than the moral which had appealed to him, and her subsequent 
books confirmed his judgment. 

So it was in 1863 that she strolled down into the fine grove 
of oaks and ash trees by Park River where the Underwood and 
Merrow plants now are, and said to her builder, "This is the spot 
that I haunted as a girl. I said if I ever could have a home it 
must be here." But the beautiful home, visited by thousands of 
distinguished friends and many of the lowliest, was elbowed by 
Hartford's fast-spreading factories. From it ran a shady road 
northwesterly, up the knoll to where her sister Mrs. Perkins 
lived, and across the road from her — as has been said — was her 
half-sister Isabella, wife of John Hooker. Her house and also 




Hawthorn Street, Hartford 



the one at Mandarin, Fla., where she spent the winters, was 
peculiar as to its front gables; on Forest Street, not far from 
Farmington Avenue and but an easy step from "Belle's" and 
"Mary's" was a brick house with much the same peculiarity; 
any one of the three would suggest the others. In 1873 she chose 
that for home for the rest of her life. There on beloved Nook 
Farm she wrote for a time, there she received her honoring 
guests, there she marked the passing of her older friends and 
relatives — her husband in 1886 — and there she dreamed out her 
last days till July 1, 1896. 

The Warners, Clemens, Perkins, the Stowes, the Hookers, 
Twichell, Editor Clark, Rev. Nathaniel J. Burton, Doctor Par- 
ker, the Hamersleys, J. Hammond Trumbull, the Beechers, Olm- 
sted, the Footes and Hawleys, Henry C. Robinson — those who 
did not reside on the farm came there — and Howells, Olcott, 
Cable, Matthews, the T. B. Aldriches, the Fields, George William 
Curtis, Professor Lounsbury, the surviving "communists" of 
Brook Farm near Concord, Dickens and other writers from Eng- 
land, men of Trinity and Yale, and Harvard not barred, Bunce, 
Flagg, Brandegee and fellow artists, Modjeska, later Paderewski 
and other musicians drawn by Mrs. Warner, herself a queen 
among them, and Thomas Nelson Page, Sarah Orne Jewett, Al- 
den, Rev. Dr. Anderson, Roosevelt — the joy in the life there at 
Nook Farm was the informality. Any of them might be drop- 
ping in on any one of the others at any hour, always welcome, 
morning or evening, unless it was at Clemens' when he was walk- 
ing around his billiard table, plotting his next chapter; he was 
the most versatile talker, in his high, drawling tones, but the sub- 
ject must be to his taste — which luckily was broad and varie- 
gated. Several of the Hartford men were also members of the 
Monday Evening Club which began in the '60s, meeting at each 
other's houses. 

The wives were thoroughly congenial. And there were the 
children. "Will" Gillette starting on his road to fame by ar- 
ranging theatricals in his father's barn — that barn once a sta- 
tion in the "underground railroad" for slaves on the way to Can- 
ada — building a steam engine or carving a chair, or winning the 
high school declamation prize; "Dick" Burton, the poet and 
future professor of literature and for several years living in the 
house he built near Mr. Warner's — frisky in his school and Trin- 


ity College days, and tall "Ed" (Dr. Edward B.) Hooker leading 
the way to the swimming hole with Rob and John Porteus. "They 
keep me in good form," said Mr. Warner and wrote "Being a 
Boy." Clemens filled his house with the boys of his memory, his 
"Tom Sawyers" and "Pudd'n Head Wilsons." 

Clemens took the stage once himself, cast for a part in a com- 
edy played by amateurs in 1876, for the benefit of the Allyn 
Library. And it was in a Mark Twain play, "The Gilded Age," 
that Gillette made his first professional appearance here the year 
before, at Roberts Opera House. The date is worth preserving — 
January 11 and 12, 1875, John T. Raymond as "Colonel Sellers." 
Gillette's sturdy father had not favored the stage for his tall 
boy. But the boy had ideas of his own and while still at New 
York University, at the age of nineteen, he began using them, 
gaining a place with a St. Louis stock company. He got home 
again safely. Clemens gave ear to him and soon he was per- 
forming at the Globe in Boston. He had done himself credit in 
"Faint Heart Ne'er Won Fair Lady" before he began in New 
York with the book Mr. Clemens had dramatized. None of the 
many receptions accorded him by his home town in the plays of 
his own writing, like "The Private Secretary," "The Professor" 
or "Held By the Enemy" or "Secret Service" or "Too Much John- 
son," or his adaptations like "Sherlock Holmes" could ever have 
been more gratifying to him than that first one. 

Nook Farm ever has continued to have its charm for literary 
people and lovers of music. Prof. Henry A. Perkins of Trinity 
writes much upon science and education; Prof. Lewis B. Paton 
of the Seminary Foundation is a well known writer on theological 
and archaelogical subjects; John M. Gallup has been one of the 
city's leading organists; Prof. Robert B. Riggs, lately dean of 
the Trinity faculty, is a promoter of scientific literature and 
Mrs. Riggs a patron of art; Col. Francis Parsons, lawyer, news- 
paper man and now vice chairman of the board of the Hartford 
Bank and Trust Company, has written masterly stories and 
sketches; Arthur P. Day, chairman of the board of the Hartford- 
Connecticut Trust Company, is an artist and a collector of lit- 
erature, as also is Paul G. Merrow, though both shrink from pub- 
licity; the late W. 0. Burr, proprietor and editor of the Times, 
had his home here, now Mrs. Burr's; Miss Mabel Wyllys Wain- 




wright, descendant of the proprietor of 1639, is a devotee to 
music; Miss Lucy Perkins, daughter of Mary Beecher Perkins, 
has delightful literary style. 

The neighborhood, about which more will be said in connec- 
tion with the Mark Twain Memorial, draws many visitors, espe- 
cially from foreign lands. It is rich in the lore of those who have 
passed on. Two of the less familiar quotations from Mark 
Twain may be given in illustration and as history items. On his 
first visit to the city he wrote : 

"Hartford is the place where the insurance companies all 
live. They use some of the houses for dwellings. The others 
are for insurance offices. So it is easy to see that there is 
quite a spirit of speculative enterprise here. Many of the in- 
habitants have retired from business but the others labor 
along in the old customary way, as presidents of insurance 

President Bliss of the local publishing house produced "Inno- 
cents Abroad," Mr. Clemens' first book, against the judgment of 
his directors. After it was off the press the author wrote to an 
old steamboat associate : 

"Thirty tons of paper have been used in publishing my 
book. It has met with a greater sale than any book ever pub- 
lished, except 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' — not so bad for a scrub 
pilot, is it?" 

Rev. S. Dryden Phelps was living here in this period, formerly 
a Suffield clergyman but coming here from New Haven in 1876 
as editor of the widely circulating Christian Secretary. He was 
well known as a writer on religious subjects and was the author 
of several familiar hymns. His son, William Lyon Phelps, born 
in 1865, was to take his place in literature in the next generation 
and to become essay-writer, critic and professor of literature at 
Yale, an ordained Baptist clergyman and a doctor of divinity. 

There were and are other names marked in literature in that 
period and on. A shortened list of them would include John 
Fiske, the historian who had gone from here, his birthplace; 
Annie Eliot Trumbull, daughter of Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull, 


who writes poetry and fiction; Rose Terry Cooke, novelist and 
poet; Rev. Henry Clay Trumbull, brother of Doctor Trumbull, 
for many years editor of the Sunday School Times and writer of 
books; Edmund Clarence Stedman, the poet, who was born here 
in 1833; Frederick Beecher Perkins, born here in 1829, who chose 
both education and fiction for his field ; William Graham Sumner 
of Yale, of Hartford birth (1840) ; Mary K. Talcott, delving into 
history; Sarah Pratt McLean Greene of Simsbury, with her 
"Cape Cod Folks," "Everbreeze" and other stories of life along 
the coast; Prof. Charles F. Johnson of Trinity; Rev. Dr. William 
L. Gage; Clyde Fitch, dramatist; Winchell Smith, playwright and 
international producer; Charles Dillingham, theatrical manager; 
Prof. Richard Burton, poet, lecturer, professor of English at 
University of Minnesota, now head of the New York Drama 
League; Capt. Louis F. Middlebrook whose two volumes on 
"Maritime History of Connecticut During the Revolution" cover 
hitherto unexplored territory; Philip Curtis, now of Norfolk, 
novelist; Col. Emerson G. Taylor, in fiction, war history and for- 
eign correspondence, and Wilbur F. Gordy, educator, supervis- 
ing principal of Hartford schools (1884-1904), superintendent 
of schools in Springfield (1904-1911), chairman of the Hartford 
Board of Education many years till 1928, who, among his sev- 
eral historical writings, produced the most widely known school 
history of the United States. 

Mark Twain in 1876 was one of the first users of the tele- 
phone in Hartford. Isaac D. Smith, Mr. Clemens' favorite drug- 
gist, in the old Hotel Capitol at the corner of Main Street and 
Capitol Avenue, was perhaps the first in the country to operate 
a telephone exchange. His first wires he ran to Doctors P. D. 
Peltier and John A. Stevens, then to Mr. Clemens, General Haw- 
ley and the Courant. Messages telephoned were retelephoned by 
the clerk, John M. Knox, till Mr. Smith devised a switch and sub- 
stituted for the old coffin board a regular switchboard, which 
was a marvel. In October, 1877, Graham Bell, then New Eng- 
land superintendent, wrote Mr. Smith that the telephones to be 
sent him were "for the first telephone line which fully embodies 
the central office idea." New Haven had a station in 1878, soon 
after which the manager there took over Smith's humble begin- 
nings. Knox, who installed Mark Twain's telephone, used to tell 

Built by John Hooker. Was Mark Twain's first Hartford home 



how the humorist raved against anybody who would undertake 
to extend the reach of the human voice ; a gag would be a better 
device. Clemens told his intimates that Professor Bell begged 
him to invest $500 in the telephone project but he drove him 
away, saying that he had only just been parted from good money 
by a man with an invention, and next day loaned $5,000 to a 
friend who went bankrupt within a week. 

Edison's invention of a talking machine was exhibited at 
Allyn Hall June 11, 1878. The audience, according to the press, 
was astounded and delighted. The sound waves were recorded 
on tinfoil on a cylinder and by the turning of a crank the words 
were reproduced. 

The very next day there was the first local exhibition and 
flight of an airship. It was at Colt meadows near where the 
aviation field is now. The performer was Professor Richtel who 
had advertised his "flying car — Only Reliable 'Air Line' to All 
Parts of the World." Previously he had given exhibitions in- 
doors. The car was a cylindrical bag filled with gas. In an at- 
tachment beneath, the man with his feet worked pedals and 
thereby controlled a propeller at the end of the bag, turning one 
way to go up and the reverse to come down. He had waited four 
days for good weather. The flight was perfect and returning 
from over the Connecticut he landed directly and easily at the 
feet of his manager. Two days later he flew to Newington, six 
miles, and on the way, came down almost to the ground near 
Charles Schultz's house, got a drink of water without landing, 
rose quickly into the air and continued. He stopped at Newing- 
ton because his legs were tired. Richtel told the press he expected 
to show that navigation of the air could readily be effected. 

A day still to be counted as one of the county's most me- 
morable was Battle-Flag Day on the anniversary of Antietam, 
September 17, 1879. The occasion, by direction of the Legis- 
lature, was the removal of the battle flags from the old arsenal to 
the cases that had been prepared for them in the west corridor of 
the new Capitol. General Hawley was marshal, Maj. J. C. Kin- 
ney chief of staff. Among the military guests were Generals 
Burnside, Schofield, Franklin, Warren and Benham. Including 


a battalion of 1,000 who had gone to the war from other states, 
there were nearly 10,000 army and navy veterans in line, rep- 
resenting every regiment. The escort consisted of the First Con- 
necticut National Guard (Col. Lucius A. Barbour), dressed in 
new uniform of helmets, dark blue frock coats and sky-blue 
trousers, scarlet facings; First Company (Maj. C. B. Board- 
man) and Second Company (Maj. C. W. Blakeslee) Governor's 
Horse Guard; First Company (Capt. G. B. Fisher) and Second 
Company (Capt. J. G. Phile) Governor's Foot Guard, and the 
Putnam Phalanx (Maj. F. M. Brown). The flags had been pre- 
pared to bear transportation, unfurled, by a committee of ladies 
including Mrs. Joseph R. Hawley whose service in the field had 
endeared her to thousands of soldiers. The several arches and 
the decorations on buildings were the most lavish ever seen here. 
For the most part the flags were carried by men who had carried 
them in the war, and at the Capitol it was they who bore them in 
to their resting places. In many instances there were two stands 
of colors, the original and those with which it had been necessary 
to replace them. The federal flag of the Sixteenth was made up 
of the pieces the men had torn it into and had secreted in their 
clothing when enduring prison life after their capture at Ply- 
mouth. The pieces had been beautifully mounted on white silk 
for this event. 

In his address presenting the colors, General Hawley said: 

"It is quite certain that we shall never again be sum- 
moned as battalions, with trumpet and drum, banner and 
cannon, for even a noble holiday like this. Let the flags rest. 
In a few years these men will no longer be able to bear arms 
for the land they love, but these weather-worn and battle- 
torn folds shall remain through the centuries testifying that 
Connecticut was true to free government, and pledging her 
future fidelity." 

Governor Charles B. Andrews in accepting the custody for 
the state closed his address with these words: 

"Lovingly, then, and tenderly, let us lay them away in 
the motherly arms of the state whose trophies they now be- 
come, that they may teach these lessons of patriotism and of 
duty to all future generations." 


An ''underground railway" station for escaping 

slaves in abolition days, when Francis Gillette owned 

the place 

Forest and Hawthorn street3, Hartford 


Farmington Avenue and Forest Street, Hartford 


The regimental tents were in the east part of Bushnell Park ; 
the dining tents were in the west part and the collation the citi- 
zens had provided, like the fund they had raised, was generous. 
The men sang and marched to the music of ' 'Marching Through 
Georgia," which was written by H. C. Worth, a Hartford boy. 
In the evening the Capitol was illuminated by candles and the 
arches by gas while the Brush Light Company, through the kind- 
ness of the Willimantic Linen Company, gave an exhibition of 
their new 3,000 candle-power electric lights from the top of the 
Capitol, the rays of which were seen eighteen miles away. Hart- 
ford's population then was 40,000; the railroads transported 
60,000 that day and it was estimated that nearly 50,000 more 
came in by their own conveyances. 

Though naturally this was not among the comments at such 
time of almost religious solemnity, the town found that it sud- 
denly had developed a new power of social entertainment. 
Among the guests were many of note aside from the veterans 
and their immediate friends, all of whom were so bountifully 
provided for, and in the over-crowded community somewhere 
must be a place for them, such as today is considered a matter- 
of-fact adjunct. The Hartford Club met the requirement. It 
had been in existence only since 1874 when it was incorporated 
by General Hawley, Dr. W. A. M. Wainwright, Samuel W. 
White, General Franklin, Frederick W. Russell, J. Watson 
Beach, Charles M. Pond, Col. F. W. Cheney and C. S. Weath- 
ersby. In lieu of the old-time inns it had furnished a place where 
affairs of business moment could be thrashed out and plans be 
formulated for anything requiring cooperation of the community, 
like this. In its first days, occupying the former Wadsworth 
residence, it had made a worthy beginning, but after it had built 
its present establishment across Prospect Street, it took fully its 
place as an institution. Today sees the expansion of clubs along 
other specific lines, social, fraternal, collegiate, professional and 
the rest, but the Hartford Club, like its prototype in other cities, 
remains the one in which the public has something akin to civic 

Banking in particular was shaping itself to the new require- 
ments. The Connecticut Trust Company in 1868 was the first 
of its kind, followed by the Hartford in 1871, the Security in 


1875, the Riverside in 1907, and the Park Street; and the banks, 
like the City, the State, the Mutual, and the United States were 
to add the important word "trust" as time went on, till today 
there are these great organizations and consolidations, mention 
of which belongs to the final period of the history. In savings 
banks, in the '70s and now, there were three in addition to the 
original Society of Savings, promoting and ready to receive the 
benefits of post-war dependability when such a thing was so 
essential to progress — the State (1858), and the Mechanics and 
Dime (1861). 

Cemetery needs had received no further attention than that 
which has been recorded till 1864 when Cedar Hill, to become 
the largest of all of them, was incorporated and during 
the years to be greatly beautified. It now embraces 300 acres. 
The stock was bought by the association till in 1897 the whole 
ownership was in the lot-owners. Northam Memorial Chapel, 
with bell in the west gable, was built in 1882 by Mrs. Charles H. 
Northam in memory of her husband who had bequeathed 
$30,000, increased by $10,000 by Mrs. Northam. The Gallup 
memorial gateway, built in 1889, was given by Mrs. Julia N. 
Gallup of Plainfield and Hartford who died in 1884. She also 
gave the memorial window in the waiting room. 

In the war cycle and following, first steps were being taken 
in industries which were to figure largely in subsequent history. 
The great Pratt & Whitney concern of today was started in 1861 
on $1,000 savings of two mechanics trained at Colt's. Francis 
A. Pratt (1827-1902), a native of Woodstock, began at Colt's in 
1858 and was made superintendent of the Phoenix Iron Works. 
Amos Whitney, mentioned elsewhere, went with him. Their own 
concern they started in a car shop. The first of their large build- 
ings on Capitol Avenue was built in 1865. Prescott, Plimpton 
& Company began making envelopes by patent process in that 
year. Linus B. Plimpton (1830-1904) incorporated in 1873 the 
present Plimpton Manufacturing Company, for turning out sta- 
tionery and books in addition to envelopes. Horace J. Wickham, 
coming as an apprentice, devised machinery which brought the 
concern into a fair monopoly of the envelope business, so that it 





long held the government contract in competition with other con- 
cerns. The Hartford Manufacturing Company was organized 
by the Plimpton concern and the Morgan concern of Springfield 
as a branch to take care of the government work, the United 
States Stamped Envelope Works being merged with it. The 
capacity was 5,000,000 envelopes a day. The paper trust neces- 
sitated other changes and meeting all competition the Plimpton 
Manufacturing Company in 1908 became a division of the United 
States Envelope Company while enlarging its own special busi- 
ness. Mr. Plimpton served in the state Senate and as delegate 
to the republican convention in 1900. Maro S. Chapman, promi- 
nent in Manchester history and president of the City Bank, was 
closely associated with Mr. Plimpton and became vice president 
of the concern. 

Other concerns were acquiring wide repute. The Smyth 
Manufacturing Company was formed in 1879 by George Wells 
Root and others, the company paying Mr. Root and Orianna 
Smyth for their patent which had revolutionized the binding of 
books. The Sigourney Tool Company, of which Mr. Root was 
proprietor, made the machines, and under the direction of John 
R. Reynolds improvements were perfected along with machinery 
for other features of binding. The two companies combined have 
occupied their plant on Sigourney Street since 1898. The Bil- 
lings & Spencer drop-forging plant, to become the largest in the 
United States, was conceived in 1869 by Charles E. Billings 
(1835-1920) in company with C. M. Spencer of rifle fame. There 
was a large plant in Canada besides those here and at Rocky Hill. 
The former plant of the Columbia Vehicle Company on Park 
Street is now the home of the concern. Mr. Billings was also 
prominent in banking and rendered conspicuous public service. 
The Hartford Machine Screw Company dates from 1876 when 
it began the manufacture of screws with the wonderful labor- 
saving machinery invented by C. M. Spencer. It was established 
by Mr. Spencer and George Fairfield. The William Rogers Man- 
ufacturing Company was organized in 1865. Under Bryan Ed- 
ward Hooker, sixth in descent from the founder, the Broad 
Brook Company, woollens, was enjoying a period of great pros- 
perity. Pliny Jewell, head of the P. Jewell & Sons leather-belt 
industry to which reference has been made, died in 1869 at a 
period of great activity in his business. His son, Lyman B. 


Jewell, continuing the concern, lived to be ninety, dying in 1917. 
The Hartford Carpet Company of Enfield, which always has re- 
tained its high position, was under the presidency of George Rob- 
erts (1810-1878) who was an East Hartford man by birth and 
held the office of president thirty-two years. 

Names prominent in banking included: Gustavus F. Davis 
(1818-1896), president of the City Bank and of the State Sav- 
ings Bank, vice president of the Travelers and also president of 
the Hartford Dispensary; Charles H. Brainard (1813-1889), 
president of the State Bank who acquired a large amount of real 
estate, built the finest house in town on Capitol Avenue (now 
Mount Sinai Hospital) and lost heavily; Robert E. Day (1829- 
1894), president of the Security Company from its formation in 
1876 till his death. 

Roland Mather (1809-1897), descendant of Rev. Richard 
Mather, who came over in 1635, was born in Westfield, Mass., and 
removed to Hartford in 1828. The commission house of Howe 
(Edmund G.), Mather & Company became Mather, Morgan 
(Junius S.) & Company. Mr. Morgan went to Boston but the 
firm continued till Mr. Howe's death in 1873. Mr. Mather re- 
tired at the age of forty-two to give his attention to his private 
business and to his duties as director in many corporations. In 
1838 he was major of the Governor's Foot Guard. His interest 
in philanthropic institutions was marked by his $500,000 in gifts 
while living and his bequests in his will. The estate was the larg- 
est that ever had been probated in this district. 

Hon. Dwight Loomis (1821-1903), born in Columbia, gradu- 
ate of Yale in 1847 and Rockville's first lawyer, came here (after 
the war and after having completed his term in Congress), serv- 
ing as judge of the Superior Court. He was appointed to the 
Supreme Court and continued till he reached the age limit in 
1891. Yale gave him a LL. D. David S. Calhoun (1827-1912), 
who long had been judge of probate in Manchester, came to Hart- 
ford in 1870 and for twenty years was judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas. On retiring he had an office with his son, J. Gil- 
bert Calhoun. 

One whose counsel often had been sought during the stormy 
days was H. K. W. Welch (1821-1870), who stood high in the 
legal profession. He was born in Mansfield, the son of Dr. Archi- 


Portrait of Mr. Warner, wearing fez, on the wall 


bald Welch. He began practice here in 1850 and was a partner of 
Hon. Nathaniel Shipman. 

Willis I. Twitchell (1852-1914), a native of New Haven, Vt., 
and a graduate of Middlebury College, had been four years prin- 
cipal of the Windsor High School when he came here in 1883 as 
principal of the Arsenal District School; in 1901 he succeeded 
Esther C. Perry as principal of the West Middle District, in- 
cluding the Noah Webster School. He was president of the Wat- 
kinson Farm School and among his writings was "The Pathfinder 
of American History," in collaboration with Wilbur F. Gordy. 
John W. Stedman (1820-1896), born in Enfield, was president 
of the Connecticut Historical Society for many years, secretary 
and treasurer of the State Savings Bank, bank commissioner 
(while living in Norwich) and insurance commissioner in 1874. 
Dr. Harmon G. Howe (1850-1913) began practice here in 1875; 
he was president of the city and the county medical societies and 
gave much of his time for the hospital and the Hartford Retreat. 
Monsignor Thomas S. Preston (1824-1891), born in Hartford 
and graduated at Trinity in 1843, left the ministry of the Epis- 
copal Church to join the Catholic, in which he became very promi- 
nent, being prelate of the Pope's household in 1873. 

Names still familiar in leading lines of business include those 
of the following: Philemon F. Robbins (1807-1890), born in 
Rocky Hill, for over fifty years was head of Robbins & Wingate, 
cabinet-makers, and when he retired this and the furniture busi- 
ness was carried on by his sons. George P. Chandler (1844- 
1922) came with the drug firm of Lee, Sisson & Company in 
1865, one of the oldest and largest drug concerns in the state, 
Thomas Sisson (mentioned elsewhere) being head of it. When 
Mr. Sisson died in 1900 Mr. Chandler succeeded him and the 
name became the Sisson Drug Company; he in turn was suc- 
ceeded by his son, George A. Chandler — continuously at one loca- 
tion on Main Street. George W. Moore (1823-1889) was one of 
the earliest dealers in western mortgage loans, with his son James 
B. Moore and James H. Tallman who continued the business 
after his death, and it continues today. He was a director in 
many of the city's institutions and was largely instrumental in 
making Cedar Hill Cemetery what it is. A. A. Olds (1852- 
1925) began for himself in the furnace and fertilizer business in 
1877 with Frank H. Whipple, in succession to the firm of Allen 



& Willard. Mr. Olds, with residence in Windsor, was one of the 
pioneers in the development of shade-grown tobacco. Frank S. 
Brown came here from Boston in 1866. With James M. Thom- 
son and William McWhirter, two Scotch business men, the firm 
of Brown, Thomson & McWhirter was formed which acquired 
the so-called Cheney Building erected in 1877. Mr. McWhirter 
retired in 1878, Mr. Brown in 1892 and Mr. Thomson in 1896, 
their successors being George A. Gay, William Campbell and 
Harry B. Strong, under the present name of Brown, Thomson 
& Company, drygoods and department store. The store of Moses 
Fox, started in 1847 — for many years now G. Fox & Company — 
was also moving rapidly to its present position, despite serious 
fires, as a department store. W. H. Bulkeley was keeping the 
Bee Hive in the public mind. George 0. Sawyer, Civil war vet- 
eran, came from Maine in 1869 and eventually built a building 
at the northeast corner of Main and Asylum streets to house his 
store for the years it continued. Isidore Wise meanwhile was 
developing the large establishment which bears his name and 
has taken over much property on Main and Pratt streets. 



Singer. Daughter of Mark Twain 

Actor, playwright and novelist 




Town and county entered upon the last half of the third cen- 
tury with restfulness following- the storms of the national recon- 
struction era, inflation and speculation. Conditions at last had 
reached normalcy after the Civil war, specie payment had been 
resumed, a new generation was coming on to succeed that made 
restless by the war, and the western plains were being opened for 
those who felt the urge of adventure. Agriculture not yet had 
begun to feel the pull of western competition, industry was enjoy- 
ing an impetus with inventions, many of them in Hartford shops, 
and the comforts of peace and unfeverish progress were in 

The state fairs in the fall at Charter Oak Park, once Zeph- 
aniah Bunce's farm, were more worth while ; Washington Street 
was the scene of a continual carnival during the sleighing season 
with "Earle," "Lady Scud," "Glencoe," and a score of their mates, 
driven by such proud owners as H. A. Redfield, Henry Keney, 
William H. Bulkeley, Ludlow Barker, Henry Hitchcock, Charles 
R. Hart and R. G. Watrous, and, mounted on bicycles, people of 
all classes and ages were getting out into the open. J. H. Hale's 
peach orchards in Glastonbury were developing into the finest in 
this section ; the dam of the Holyoke Water Power Company, dat- 
ing from 1870 and representing much Hartford capital, was to 
be replaced at enormous expense ; Colonel Pope was improving the 
bicycle and calling for better roads; the Legislature was meeting- 
only every other year and always in Hartford ; the new county 
building on Trumbull Street was going up at a cost of $170,000 
and with provision for a large law library for the Hartford Bar 
Association, which dated from 1795, and the new post office was 
lifting its somewhat ungainly form on the neglected State House 
Square. It truthfully could be said of the Government structure 


33— VOL. 1 


that it was greatly needed. It came to its slow completion in 
1882. Like the railroad roundhouse near the Capitol, built soon 
after, it was purpose, not ornament that people had to consider. 
The Roman classic fence around the State House grounds, ordered 
by the Legislature in 1834, was removed to the Old People's Home 
on Jefferson Street and traveled thence to the West Middle school 
grounds which it still adorns with its iron fasces. 

Recent experiences, nation-wide, developed such practical- 
mindedness as this, and yet art was giving new evidence that it 
had not been smothered. Indeed commercial and industrial pros- 
perity, as ever, was contributing to art, education and religious 
and charitable institutions and aiding in the progress of human- 
ity. The Hartford Art Society, organized in 1877 as the Society 
of Decorative Art, was incorporated in 1886 and connection es- 
tablished with the Atheneum — "heir to the ideas of Daniel Wads- 
worth." Members were privileged to study the old pictures, the 
society assuming expense of heating and care. Mary D. Ely, one 
of the founders, was president till 1891 when her strength failed, 
but long before her death in 1902 she had the pleasure of seeing 
her hopes realized. By the encouragement of that society, many 
were to go forth to attain prominence in the world of art, here and 
abroad. The Keney scholarship was increased by gifts from other 
friends, and selected pupils were sent to such institutions as the 
art school of the Boston Museum. Then the Paige traveling schol- 
arships enabled pupils to go to European art centers. The exhi- 
bitions were of value to the community, especially, as will be seen, 
with the developments which have come in these later days. 

Among the names that linked this period of art with that of 
the past was that of Frederick E. Church, born on Temple Street 
in 1826, one of America's greatest landscape painters for all time. 
He owed his career to Daniel Wadsworth and the Atheneum, in 
which institution is an historic specimen of his earliest work, 
"Hooker's Journey," along with others of later days but none 
that satisfied him. He was wont to try to buy something worthy 
to send here but, as he told Charles Dudley Warner who fre- 
quently was his traveling companion, he always was outbid, much 
more being given for his pictures than he ever got himself. His 
greatest picture, "Niagara," which was the admiration of both 
continents, brought $12,500 at a sale in Paris when the canvases 
of the most famous Frenchmen brought little more than half that. 


He began drawing with Benjamin Coe and water colors with 
A. H. Emmons. Mr. Wadsworth noticed him at his work in the 
Atheneum and persuaded Thomas Cole of New York, the "father 
of painting," to teach him. He was Cole's first pupil. Church's 
preference was for the grand and the transcribing of atmosphere. 
Honored abroad as at home, he traveled extensively for his sub- 
jects, and his last days, in 1900, at his beautiful home in the Cats- 
kills, were full of joy. So desirous was he that his native town 
should have something worth while to remember him by that he 
sold to Timothy Allyn at a comparatively low price what he con- 
sidered his masterpiece, "Jerusalem." 

Dwight W. Tryon was another native, born in 1849 and living 
till 1925. As a clerk at Brown & Gross's bookstore, he earned the 
money to go abroad to study art — contrary to the advice of his 
friend, Mark Twain. He won many notable prizes and was a 
member of several societies. For thirty-three years he was head 
of the art department at Smith College. 

T. Sedgwick Steele, descendant of a Hartford founder, was 
still doing fine work, continuing till his death in 1903. He also 
found many of his subjects in foreign lands. N. A. Moore, of 
Kensington, was delighting with his landscapes. D. F. Went- 
worth was beginning to win the applause which still is his today. 
Gurdon Trumbull, Jr., was specializing in game fish, for which 
he had no superior. William R. Wheeler (1829-1893) was paint- 
ing governors' portraits. Frederick S. Jewett had been a mem- 
ber of the city's first park board, helping in the layout of Bush- 
nell Park ; from his brush came charming productions. Hartford 
is proud of its examples of the skill of the sculptor, Olin Levi 
Warner (1844-1896), who was a native of West Suffield; the 
statue of Governor Buckingham in the Capitol is one of them. He 
had gained national fame and was engaged in designing bronze 
doors for the Congressional Library in 1896 when he died as the 
result of an accident. Carl Gerhardt had won the honor of de- 
signing the soldiers' monument at Utica, N. Y., of which George 
Keller was the architect, and the prophecies of his friends were 
fulfilled. Bunce, Flagg and others were entering upon careers 
which bring them more appropriately into a little later period. 

Other sons were bringing credit in fields no other Hartford 
sons had trodden. Two of them are far from being through 
bringing it. The slightly elder of them is William Gillette who 


now has his castle-like home on the high cliff (the "Seventh Sis- 
ter") at Hadlyme, overlooking the Connecticut. Mention has 
been made of his work, in the Nook Farm section. In these later 
days he turns to novel-writing. 

Otis Skinner, born in 1858, three years after Gillette, is a 
clergyman's son and came to Hartford with his parents while yet 
a young school boy. His first stage was in the basement of the 
Universalist Church of which his father was pastor. He made 
his public debut in Allyn Hall as second in the cast of "The Dead 
Shot," played for charity in 1877, in the fall of which year he 
appeared as "Jim, an old negro," in the cast of "Woodleigh," by 
the Philadelphia Museum Company. What he has been since, for 
half a century, the world knows well. Lew Clapp ("Lew Dock- 
stader") was a leader among those who made minstrel entertain- 
ments an actual boon for the "tired business man." And Lew 
never forgot his old Hartford associates. Maude Granger, whose 
father, Abraham B. Brainard, was a foreman in Pratt & Whit- 
ney's great plant, comes here to visit her relatives and girlhood 
friends after her half-century of acting. Lucille Saunders, in the 
period we are reviewing, was singing in opera in London after 
winning laurels on this side. 

Among the citizens there was more thought of the future than 
there had been through the previous quarter of a century, more 
joining in fellowship, more care for the welfare of others, young 
and old. The Watkinson Farm School was opened in 1881 on 
Park Street, near the orphan asylum, in which David Watkinson 
had been greatly interested. Mr. Watkinson's bequest of 
$60,000 in 1857 had come, by careful management, to equal 
$200,000. The institution had been chartered as the Watkinson 
Juvenile Asylum and Farm School in 1858 and since 1864 had 
received a few boys with the aid of the orphan asylum fund. Now 
twenty acres of land had been acquired near Park Street and the 
school formally opened as a training school and home for boys in 
need of care. Today it has excellent buildings and facilities on 
the former Prosser farm of 130 acres, at the corner of Albany 
Avenue and Bloomfield Road where, thanks to the generosity of 
Rev. Francis Goodwin, in 1895, the Handicraft School in connec- 
tion with it was established, for the education of a large number 
of boys in horticulture, floriculture and kindred subjects. 


ll 19 2 l;j Byn r. N. V. 

One of the Country's Greatest Minstrels 


The Old People's Home, on Jefferson Street, built with the 
$50,000 bequest of Charles H. Northam, late president of the hos- 
pital, was dedicated in 1884. 

The Good Will Club, which has made better and happier citi- 
zens out of at least 25,000 youths since 1880, was preceded by the 
Dashaway Club, formed in 1860 by Miss Elizabeth Hamersley 
and others in the Morgan Street Mission School building, and by 
that club's successor, the Sixth Ward Temperance Society in City 
Missionary Hawley's night-school building in 1867. The temper- 
ance society's $1,000 fund went to the public library and its fur- 
nishings were utilized by the club of 1880. The Good Will Club 
was inspired and throughout her life, ending in 1927, was guided 
by Miss Mary Hall, in memory of her brother Ezra Hall. After 
graduating at Wesleyan Seminary and serving as an instructor 
in Lasell Seminary, near Boston, Miss Hall studied law and was 
the first woman in the state to be admitted to practice. The club 
became her life work. David Clark and A. E. Burr assisted her 
in making the start. By 1889, the club needing a building of its 
own, a fund was raised for the purchase of the former Female 
Seminary building on Pratt Street. Henry and Walter Keney 
were generous benefactors, and when a still larger building was 
required in 1910 Henry Keney saw to it that it could be located 
on the Keney homestead land, so that today it stands on Keney 
Tower square. The trustees from the beginning have been some 
of the city's foremost men. Under volunteer instructors the boys 
have practical courses, a company of cadets, drum corps and 
orchestra, games of all sorts and gymnastics, and also a "city," 
governed wholly by themselves. 

Miss Hall was a daughter of Gustavus E. Hall, whose home 
was the once famous inn at Marlborough, in the story of which 
town will be found an account of it. Of late years, she had pro- 
vided a camp there for the boys; the inn itself she bequeathed to 
the Colonial Dames for public use. In her will she left $20,000 
for the club. Willie O. Burr, editor of the Times, left $10,000 to 
the club fund which his father, A. E. Burr, had been instrumental 
in establishing. 

The Veteran Firemen's Association was organized in 1889 
and a building provided for it on Arch Street. The Police Mutual 
Aid Association, dating from 1880, was performing a worthy 
function ; its record of dispensations today is over $85,000. For 


social and beneficent purposes there were coming in the Hart- 
ford Lodge of the Elks, Wadsworth, Nathan Hale and Parkville 
lodges of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, B. H. Webb 
Council of the Royal Arcanum, Capitol Lodge of Sons of St. 
George, Clan Gordon of the Order of Scottish Clans, Charter Oak 
Council of United American Mechanics, Hartford Tent of the 
Maccabees, and the German Aid Society, following chronologi- 
cally the German Independent Aid Society, three sections, estab- 
lished in 1875. College graduates were foregathering, the Yale 
Alumni Association in 1885 and the Mount Holyoke Alumnae 
Association the following year. And of special literary flavor 
was the Monday Morning Club which since 1888 has been meet- 
ing at the homes of its members. 

The still vivid memory of the Civil war, which a few years pre- 
viously had found expression in the organizing of Nathaniel Lyon 
Post No. 2 and of Robert 0. Tyler Post No. 50, had been recog- 
nized by the forming of a Woman's Relief Corps for each of the 
posts, as No. 2 and No. 6 respectively on the state rolls, with Grif- 
fin A. Stedman Camp of Sons of Veterans No. 6 soon to follow, 
and in the early part of the Twentieth Century, Lizbeth A. Tur- 
ner Tent, Daughters of Veterans, and also the Citizens Corps to 
assist in Memorial Day exercises. 

Such memory found more public expression on Buckingham 
Day, June 18, 1884, when 30,000 people came from out of town to 
join the throng. The 7,000 men in line included the veterans, the 
First Regiment of the Connecticut National Guard, contingents 
from other regiments, the Governor's Foot Guard and Horse 
Guard, Putnam Phalanx, and the Seventh Regiment of New York. 
The occasion was the unveiling of Olin L. Warner's statute of the 
war governor in the battle-flag corridor of the Capitol, with pres- 
entation by Speaker Henry B. Harrison, acceptance by Gov. 
Thomas M. Waller and oration by United States Senator Or- 
ville H. Piatt. 

On September 17, 1886, the Memorial Arch at the Trinity 
Street entrance to Bushnell Park was dedicated. The graceful 
brown stone structure had been designed by George Keller of 
Hartford, who that year had won the prize for the design of the 
President Garfield monument in Cleveland, with sculpture by 
Casper Buberl and Samuel Kitson. The town had appropriated 
$60,000 for it. There were more than 5,000 veterans in line, es- 




corted by the First and Second regiments of the National Guard, 
the Governor's Foot Guard and Horse Guard, the Putnam Pha- 
lanx military companies from Bridgeport, Providence, R. I., and 
Troy, N. Y., the selectmen, Mayor Bulkeley and the common coun- 
cil, with Col. William E. Cone as marshal. It was an earnest re- 
minder of Battle-flag Day in 1879. 

An institution which was designed to do much good for dumb 
animals in particular throughout the state owed its inception to 
a high school girl who in later years was in charge of the Winsted 
Hospital. Gertrude 0. Lewis, daughter of Dr. John B. Lewis, 
eminent surgeon in the Civil war and medical director of the 
Travelers' Insurance Company, loves animals. She persuaded 
George T. Angell of Boston, who later was to become a leader in 
the work of prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the coun- 
try, to come to Hartford to make an address. Enlisting the clergy 
in her cause, she had a large audience for the speaker at Park 
Church Sunday evening, November 13, 1880. The immediate 
result was the organization of the Connecticut Humane Society 
with Rodney Dennis as president and Henry E. Burton as secre- 
tary, its scope soon to be broadened to include uncared-for chil- 
dren and its years of usefulness and generous public support to 
continue through the years indefinitely. 

At the same time something of great national import was be- 
ing observed by students of government and international affairs. 
Dr. Yung Wing, one of the most advanced Chinese of his times, 
was bringing selected Chinese boys here for an education. Regret- 
fully, his noble undertaking still stands unique in the world's his- 
tory. With nothing revolutionary in mind but purely with the 
advancement of his own people and the basis of a better under- 
standing between the races, Doctor Wing, himself a graduate of 
Yale in the class of '54, had finally succeeded in bringing his gov- 
ernment to take his view of the subject. In a childhood given over 
to severe toil in the rice-fields, he had acquired from missionaries 
a knowledge of English and was brought to America in 1847, 
after intensive study, by William A. Macy, a Yale man who had 
had a school in China. While pursuing his studies he made the 
acquaintance of Prof. David E. Bartlett of East Windsor, Yale 
'28, an instructor at the present School for the Deaf till his 
death in 1879. Wing was an importer when his government 
commissioned him to buy arsenal machinery at Pratt & Whit- 


ney's in 1864, and since that time, it may be said, China has 
continued to buy at various times in amount running into the 
millions. Gaining in prestige, Doctor Wing boldly and success- 
fully proposed reforms in China. One resulted in the establish- 
ment of the China Merchant Steam Navigation Company and 
another was the sending of prospective leaders in national affairs 
to this country for instruction. 

He was appointed commissioner and was made a mandarin 
of third rank. Headquarters were established in a building erect- 
ed on Collins Street, and in 1872 youths to the number of 120 
finally began to arrive. Yale gave him the doctor's degree, he 
married the granddaughter of the Rev. Bela Kellogg of the East 
Avon Church and the sister of Dr. Edward W. Kellogg, by whom 
he had two able sons, Morrison B. and Bartlett G. Wing. He was 
a member of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church and for 
many years president of the Congregational Society of New Eng- 
land. From 1874 to 1878 he was on special duty investigating 
the condition of the Chinese in Peru. The boys were sent to vari- 
ous schools around the country. The direct government represen- 
tative at the mission here was Chin Lan Pin, afterwards minister 
to the United States, and Doctor Wing was associated with him in 

The wisdom of the doctor's plan was being demonstrated, the 
students were achieving much in scholarship and popularity when 
suddenly in 1881 they were recalled and the commission discon- 
tinued. The cause is said to have been dissatisfaction with our 
immigration law, disbarment of the students from the govern- 
ment academies of the army and navy and discrimination in fa- 
vor of the Japanese. Some of the boys failed to return to China, 
others came back here and several of them were put into govern- 
ment positions where they attained high place. Among the stu- 
dents in Hartford were Liang Tun Yen, later confidential adviser 
and secretary of Li Hung Chang, then successively taotai of 
Tientsin, head of the Tientsin Railway, controller-general of cus- 
toms and president of the Board of Foreign Affairs and named for 
minister to the United States, an honor he declined because of 
duties at home ; Mun Yew Chung, who became a member of the 
Chinese legation ; Wong Kai Kah, the vice-commissioner at the St. 
Louis exposition (both Wong and Liang received their degrees of 
B. A. in later years, on petition of their classmates of '82 and 


'83 at Yale) ; Chin, Lon, Tong, Jeme, Ye, Lee, Woo, Yang (a 
nephew of Yung Wing) , Chu Chun Pan, Chu Kee Yung, and Tsai 
Shou Kie who established the University of Tientsin and became 
taotai of Tientsin. Wong and some of the others in their high 
school days lived in the family of Professor Bartlett. In college 
where Mun Yew Chung won fame as coxswain of the university 
crew and all the boys were popular, college slang classified them 
as "the Hartford Christians." 

Doctor Wing was given an important position in China in 
1882 but could not remain there on account of his wife's health. 
He was made noble of the first rank, in order that he might take 
part in the peace conference after the Japanese war. Persisting 
in his reform work during the reign of the dowager empress, a 
price of $100,000 was put on his head. From 1900 to 1902 he 
was under British protection at Hongkong and then returned to 
Hartford where he died in 1912. 

This period of the beginning of the last half of Hartford's 
third century was marked by comfortable taking account of the 
recent past, with none of that feverish discounting of the future 
achievements to be noted in later days. There was the old-time 
free-handedness on the part of those who had acquired money and 
the obvious willingness of the characteristically high class of 
working people to earn a good wage and to enjoy what they got. 
Bicycles were adding greatly to this enjoyment. Even adults 
were utilizing them to get ten or twenty miles into the country — 
at closing hours in the factory districts the streets were congested 
with them ; the races by the state association at Charter Oak Park 
were said by the press to be fully as enjoyable as the time-honored 
horse races, and George B. Thayer, merchant, student, writer, 
soldier, lawyer and for the years since then an iron-muscled pedes- 
trian to all parts of the world when not doing his part in the wars 
that came, was attracting national attention by his pedaling to 
the Pacific coast and back. 

Time was being saved and freighting promoted by improved 
transportation and hours were being added to each day by better 
light at night. Already it was plain that New England's more 
dense population was commanding the attention of promoters of 
railway passenger traffic, the lines built at costly venture were ex- 
periencing readjustment and paralleling was to become a craze 


which only the fiercest fights in the Legislature were finally to 
curb. The Poughkeepsie, Hartford & Boston, bought by the Con- 
necticut Western which had leased it, was sold under foreclosure 
for $60,000. The New York & New England, into which so much 
Hartford County capital had gone, was put into the hands of 
Receiver Charles P. Clark in 1884, and the Legislature was grant- 
ing the charter of the Hartford & Harlem from the New Britain 
point of the New England to the New York state line, with the 
Olmsted parallel to the New York, New Haven & Hartford in the 
southern part of the state making a desperate fight against the 
"New Haven" — which, better established, was to come out the 
great victor, eventually the monopolist of all, including water and 
trolley lines; was almost to sink under its load, with loss of many 
thousands to stockholders, and then, in this present era, was to be 
rehabilitated under the presidency of E. J. Pearson. 

It was in those exciting days of 1884 that Hartford citizens 
went to the Legislature for relief from grade-crossing conditions 
at the local station where great gates checked traffic through Asy- 
lum Street, the main artery to the west. The ancient ropewalk 
station just north of the street served for both the New Haven 
and the New England trains. The plan was to drop the tracks 
below street level and put a station on Spruce Street, a bit west 
of the old one, filling in Asylum Hill to make a grade upward to 
its peak from half a block east of the tracks. The New England 
being too utterly poor and city property owners far from unani- 
mous, the struggle assumed various phases till at last the present 
iron and masonry overhead structure for the tracks and an upper- 
deck stone station on the site of the old one was adopted, the city 
paying one-half, $200,000, in 1892. As in the matter of the post 
office, it was practicality, not adornment, that was attained, and 
both problems are awaiting future generations. The public was 
further agitated over rail service inasmuch as the Sunday laws 
prohibited transportation on Sunday except as demanded by "pub- 
lic necessity," so that for a time business was limited to milk 

New form of artificial light came not without heated opposi- 
tion by the company long occupying the field. Lanterns and torch- 
bearers had given place, in city streets, to oil lamps at public ex- 
pense in 1821. The Hartford City Gas Light Company — to use 
its original fully descriptive name — chartered in 1848, had kept 


pace with inventions in device. There had been some experi- 
ments with the electric arc and that year, 1881, the Hartford 
Electric Light Company was chartered. Austin C. Dunham, in- 
terested in industries in various parts of the state and one of the 
most progressive of electricity geniuses, was back of it. The com- 
pany applied for a charter in 1881. In 1884, its proposition to 
the city was to furnish thirty lights around the central streets, 
one light to replace four mantle gas lights. Alderman Harbison, 
in devotion to the gas company, fought bitterly, but the proposi- 
tion won a majority vote finally, with condition, however, that the 
price of electricity for the six months' trial should not exceed the 
price of gas — which the gas company had cut. Mr. Dunham and 
his associates cheerfully bore the heavy expense of installation. 
In two years Hartford boasted of being the best-lighted city of 
its size in America. 

Some of these same promoters, convinced that individual use 
of fuel was ridiculously expensive, introduced a community plan 
for heating by steam from a parent plant. The Hartford Steam 
Company went to the undertaking confidently in 1881, but 
troubles in transmission caused abandonment. 

Politics were gathering such impetus as had not been felt since 
war times. The morning Courant and the evening Post carried 
the republican gospel, the evening Times the democratic. It was 
divined that there was room for a morning democratic paper, and 
the Telegram was started by D. C. Birdsall in 1883 — to run a 
course of several hectic years. There were two Sunday papers, 
the Journal, established by Joseph H. Barnum in 1867, and the 
Globe, established by C. W. Griswold in 1876. Editorial style re- 
maining constant, make-up and local handling had changed with 
the hour and, while doings of corporations were still unobtainable, 
kindly attention was being given to social events. How this latter 
was received in more conservative and classical sets was thus viv- 
idly set forth in a card in the Courant by Miss Sarah Porter, sis- 
ter of Yale's president and head of a noted school for girls in 
Farmington : 

"Not many years ago no journal would have wished or 
have dared to report any gathering not professedly open to 
the public, but sentiment has been so rapidly debased that the 
reporter pries into the most sacred scenes of domestic and 
social life and helps to desecrate them to occasions of mere 


ostentation. I know that the press is the mouthpiece of the 
public, but the tone of the press greatly forms the sentiment 
of this public. Many reluctantly submit to the intrusion out 
of fear of very false reports, but not the less the degrading 
influence works, and unless this practice is checked, the 
heartiness and simplicity of society will be more and more 
eaten out and tyranny of the idlest curiosity be established 
over us all. Those who, in coming years, are to be teachers 
of young girls, will find it far less easy than I have found it 
to cherish the finest instincts and to develop the truthfulness 
and noble simplicity which belong to good womanhood. All 
these, I am sure, will be in accord with my views, and in their 
name I protest against the practice of reporting the incidents 
of private life and urge its suppression." 

In the presidential election of 1880, Hartford County gave 
Garfield 13,917 votes and Hancock 12,988; in 1884, Blaine 13,695 
and Cleveland 13,966. The latter was the "mugwump" year, but 
the local republican papers remained steadfast. The contest of 
1884 was like an echo of 1860. The republicans revived the 
Wideawakes of that day, some of the founders of which were still 
active. Judge George S. Gilman was the original permanent pres- 
ident. Maj. Julius G. Rathbun was the commander of the new 
organization, with its capes and torches. Men of such prominence 
as Rev. M. B. Riddle, James G. Batterson and Rowland Swift 
spoke for Blaine. At each rally, the names of the vice presidents 
and secretaries took up much of the newspaper space. The result 
in the county was: Blaine, 13,695; Cleveland, 13,966; Cleveland's 
majority in the state was 1,284. Hartford gave a majority of 
670 for Cleveland. The republican towns in the county were 
Avon, Canton, Enfield, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, Manches- 
ter, Newington, Plainville, Simsbury, Suffield, West Hartford, 
and Wethersfield — thirteen out of twenty-nine. John R. Buck, 
who for his work in the Committee on Naval Affairs had won the 
title of "Father of the Modern Navy," was returned to Congress 
by the republican vote. Governor Thomas M. Waller of New 
London, democrat, got a plurality but not a majority; hence by 
the old law, not repealed till some years later, the election of gov- 
ernor was thrown into the republican Legislature where the re- 
publican candidate, Henry B. Harrison of New Haven, was chos- 


en. In the subsequent years, till Wilson's vote in 1916 was nearly 
a thousand more than Hughes', the county continued in the repub- 
lican column — with special strength when Bryan was running 
and the democratic Times repudiated him. In the '80s Miss Fran- 
ces Ellen Burr and Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker were exerting 
themselves strenuously for woman suffrage. 

Congressman Buck (1836-1917) was brought up ruggedly on 
his father's farm in East Glastonbury. After attending school 
and teaching, he studied law and became a partner of Julius L. 
Strong. He served through the legislative clerkships, held muni- 
cipal offices, was treasurer of the county and as senator assisted 
in important legislation relative to the court system. He was 
first sent to Congress in 1880, and was succeeded there, prior to 
this re-election, by former United States Senator W. W. Eaton. 
When Mr. Buck retired to private life, he was in partnership with 
A. F. Eggleston. He retained the famous old homestead in East 
Glastonbury and delighted to go there for recreation. William E. 
Simonds of Canton was the congressman from 1889 to 1891. 

William H. Bulkeley (1840-1902) was lieutenant-governor 
from 1881 to 1883. He came of a distinguished colonial family 
and was a son of Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, first president of the Con- 
necticut Mutual Life Company and organizer of the Aetna Life. 
After a mercantile career in Brooklyn, N. Y., he organized 
in 1871 the lithographing firm of Kellogg & Bulkeley (still 
a very prosperous concern here) and also was proprietor of the 
enterprising Bee Hive drygoods store. At one time he was vice 
president of the Aetna Life. In the Civil war he was a captain 
in a New York regiment. With rank of general he was a member 
of the staff of Governor Bigelow of this state. In 1882 he was 
nominated for governor but Thomas M. Waller of New London 
received a majority, with, however, enough "black" ballots to 
throw the election into the republican Legislature. General Bul- 
keley declared he would not accept office under a technicality. It 
remained for the Legislature to pass a healing act for the ballots. 

The Sunday earthquake, August 9, 1884, which rang bells, 
stopped clocks and raised waves on the river, might have been 
taken as indication of high disapproval of such election laws and 
may have had something to do with the reform that was worked 
out after a little. 

George G. Sumner (1841-1906) was lieutenant-governor from 

34— VOL. 1 


1883 to 1885. Coming from Bolton where he was born, he en- 
tered the law office of Waldo & Hyde. At different times he held 
the offices of city attorney, recorder of the city court, chairman of 
the democratic state committee and state senator. James L. How- 
ard (1818-1906), a native of Windsor, Vt., was lieutenant-gover- 
nor from 1887 to 1889. With his brothers, he created the very 
successful concern for the manufacture of car trimmings, James 
L. Howard & Co., and in 1846 built the Howard building on Asy- 
lum Street. One of the earliest life insurance agents, he was among 
the organizers of the Travelers. For many years he was presi- 
dent of the gas company and held large interests in Springfield. 
When the present site of the Hartford Public High School was se- 
lected he was chairman of the school committee. To the cause of 
various Baptist organizations he gave much of his best thought 
and was long a trustee of Brown University. 

Among other men prominent in public affairs was Charles M. 
Joslyn (1849-1920) who was born in Tolland and coming here 
to practice joined the firm of Hyde, Gilman & Hungerf ord — today 
Gilman & Marks. He served two terms in the Legislature, was 
on the staffs of Governors Hubbard and Morris and judge advo- 
cate on the staff of the Putnam Phalanx. He organized the Hub- 
bard Escort in 1880, which for many years was a prominent 
social and political organization. He was president of the Hart- 
ford Library Association, vice president of the Hartford Trust 
Company, and for ten years chairman of the high school commit- 
tee. Maj. E. Henry Hyde (1848-1920) was the son of Lieutenant- 
Governor E. H. Hyde of Stafford. Prior to his becoming a mem- 
ber of the firm of Hyde, Joslyn, Gilman & Hungerford, he was 
associated with Samuel F. Jones, one of the foremost lawyers. 
Major Hyde served through the clerkships in the Legislature, was 
prosecuting attorney, first president of the Board of Charities and 
major of the First Company, Governor's Foot Guard, for seven 

William Waldo Hyde (1854-1915) was born in Tolland, a de- 
scendant of Elder Brewster and grandson of Congressman Loren 
P. Waldo, who came to Hartford in 1864 to open a law office with 
his son-in-law, Alvan P. Hyde (William W. Hyde's father) and 
with Richard D. Hubbard (governor 1877-1879). Mr. Hyde, 
graduating from Yale in 1876, became a member of this firm in 
1881. The firm name was Hyde, Gross & Hyde when Charles 


E. Gross entered into the partnership, later Hyde, Gross & Ship- 
man (Arthur L.), of which firm Charles Welles Gross and Alvan 
Waldo Hyde, sons of partners, became members, latterly Gross, 
Hyde & Williams — always one of the leading offices in the state. 
William Waldo Hyde was mayor from 1885 to 1891 and served 
as superintendent of schools, corporation counsel and as member 
of the committee to revise the city charter. For twenty-five years 
he was general counsel for the water board, one of the five trus- 
tees to take over the Connecticut Company from the New York, 
New Haven & Hartford road on arrangement brought about by 
the federal government, and held other positions of trust, public 
and private. He belonged to many patriotic and social organiza- 

Charles E. Perkins (1832-1917) was the son of Thomas C. 
Perkins of Hartford and grandson of the eminent lawyer Enoch 
Perkins who came here from Norwich. Mr. Perkins took his son 
Arthur into partnership after his admission to the bar, so that 
the office of Perkins is continued in these days. Mr. Perkins filled 
the positions of city attorney and member of the Legislature and 
was president of the County Bar Association. E. Spicer Cleveland 
(1825-1903) came to Hartford from Hampton as a clerk. At the 
outbreak of the Civil war, he had been a congressman, elected on 
the democratic ticket, but he was an ardent Union man, went to 
several states as a speaker for Lincoln and was postmaster for 
eight years. After the war he returned to the democratic party 
and was elected to the Legislature from Hampton, where he re- 
tained a summer residence. Again residing in Hartford, he was 
chosen senator, was nominated for governor in 1886 and received 
58,818 votes against 56,920 for Phineas C. Lounsbury, the repub- 
lican candidate. Under the old rule, neither candidate having a 
majority, the election went to the Legislature where Mr. Louns- 
bury won. He served more terms in the Senate and did not agree 
with his party leaders in the deadlock session of 1891. 

Charles E. Gross (1847-1924) came of ancestors who were 
among the earliest Massachusetts pioneers. After graduating at 
Yale in 1869 he took a law course and was admitted to the firm of 
Waldo, Hubbard & Hyde, changes thereafter taking place as al- 
ready mentioned. Mr. Gross was general counsel and director in 
the Phoenix Mutual Life, a director in the Aetna (Fire) and the 
New York & New England Railroad, president of the Society of 


Savings and of the Holyoke Water Power Company, vice presi- 
dent of the Atheneum, president of the Connecticut Historical 
Society, of the park board and of the Board of Trade. He was ad- 
ministrator for several large estates. Arthur F. Eggleston (1844- 
1909) was a descendant of one of the town's original settlers. 
Though only a mere lad, he served in a Massachusetts regiment 
during the war. Graduating at Williams College in 1868, he be- 
gan law practice in the office of Hon. John R. Buck in 1872 and 
entered into a partnership with him which continued till Mr. 
Eggleston retired in 1908. That was at the expiration of his long 
term as state's attorney. Gen. Thomas McManus (1834-1914) 
was a veteran of the Twenty-fifth Connecticut Volunteers and 
was instrumental in having the site of the old rendezvous camp 
here marked by the erection of the statue of General Stedman. 
He was judge of the City Court and of the Court of Common Pleas 
and chief of divisions in the treasury department at Washington 
(1887-89). He was a general on the staff of Governor Waller. 
Dr. James McManus and Robert McManus were brothers of his. 
Henry C. Robinson (1832-1900) was the most eminent 
corporation lawyer of his day. He was a direct descendant of 
the earliest Puritans and ever was an earnest worker in the South 
Church. On graduating at Yale in the class of '53, he studied 
law and became partner of his brother, Lucius F. Robinson, con- 
tinuing alone after his brother's death in 1861 till 1888 when his 
son, Lucius F., present head of the firm, became a partner, and 
soon after, his second son, John T. Two sons of Lucius F. (sec- 
ond) — Lucius F. and Barclay — also are now with the firm. Dur- 
ing Mr. Robinson's term as mayor Hartford was made the sole 
capital of the state. He was a member of the Legislature and 
four times was nominated by acclamation by the republicans for 
governor of the state, declining the fourth. It is understood that 
he also declined appointment as minister to Spain and the presi- 
dency of the New York, New Haven & Hartford road. Service 
was rendered as director in foremost public institutions and in 
banking and insurance corporations, yet withal he found time to 
be a lecturer in the Yale Law School and to contribute to the liter- 
ature of the day, especially law literature. His oratory was of 
high order. Eliza Niles Trumbull, a descendant of Elder Brew- 
ster of the Plymouth colony, was his wife. Mr. Robinson's son 


Henry S. went from law practice into banking and became presi- 
dent of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. 

John C. Day (1832-1899) was the son of Calvin Day of Hart- 
ford. He was graduated at Yale in 1857 and received the degree 
of M. A. in 1865. He retired from law practice here and in 1888 
lived abroad for seven years. In 1864 he was private secretary 
to Governor Buckingham. He was a director in banks and insur- 
ance companies and in Landers, Frary & Clark of New Britain. 
Mrs. Day was a daughter of John and Isabella Beecher Hooker. 
Mrs. George P. Bissell of Hartford, Mrs. Joseph Cooke Jackson of 
New York and Miss Caroline Day of Hartford were his sisters. 
Harrison B. Freeman (1838-1913) graduated with the class of 
'62 at Yale. From 1887 till he reached the age limit in 1908, he 
was elected judge of probate. He was the father of Harrison B. 
Freeman, a prominent lawyer of today. 

These are but a few of those the story of whose lives is the his- 
tory of the times. Among others, and like most of those named a 
frequenter of the Hartford Club, was the stalwart and much re- 
vered Maj.-Gen. William B. Franklin of Civil war fame. On re- 
tirement from the army in 1866 he came here and was made vice 
president and general manager of the Colt's Patent Fire Arms 
Manufacturing Company. He was superintendent on the commis- 
sion that built the Capitol, was presidential elector on the demo- 
cratic ticket in the Tilden campaign and adjutant-general under 
Governor Hubbard. He discharged the duties of president of the 
first board of managers of the National Home for Disabled Volun- 
teer Soldiers and of commissary general to the Paris exposition, 
receiving the first decoration given to an American as grand 
officer of the French Legion of Honor. He was a director in sev- 
eral Hartford insurance and financial concerns, and was senior 
warden of the Church of the Good Shepherd. 

Prof. John B. Brocklesby, LL. D. (1811-1889) in 1820 came 
to Avon with his father who built near Monte Video. After grad- 
uating at Yale in 1835, he went into law but gave up practice to 
become professor of mathematics at Washington (Trinity) Col- 
lege in 1842, succeeding Charles Davies. He wrote much on nat- 
ural philosophy and astronomy. He retired in 1882. John H., 
William C, and Arthur K. Brocklesby were his sons. Rev. J. R. 
Keep (1810-1884), a native of Longmeadow, Mass., a graduate 
of Yale, '34, formed the Congregational church in Unionville and 


preached in other places till he came to Hartford in 1854 and for 
twenty-five years was a professor at the American Deaf Mute In- 
stitute. He married a daughter of Rev. Dr. Noah Porter of Farm- 
ington, a sister of President Porter of Yale. He was the father of 
Prof. Robert Porter Keep of Farmington. 

William H. Gross (1835-1891) began business life in the book 
store of William J. Hamersley. Later with Flavius A. Brown he 
started the book store of Brown & Gross, first at the corner of 
Main and Asylum streets and then down Asylum Street half a 
block. On Mr. Brown's death Leverett Belknap was made part- 
ner and afterwards George F. Warfield. The firm today is G. F. 
Warfield & Co. Mr. Gross was secretary of the Atheneum. William 
H. Post (1833-1899) was partner with Caleb L. Talcott in Tal- 
cott & Post, drygoods, several years after the death of his brother, 
Amos Post, or till 1881 when he formed the William H. Post Car- 
pet Company, at the corner of Asylum and Haynes streets, where 
the company is still located. His son, William S. Post, succeeded 
him in the business. Mr. Post also was the president of the Cape- 
well Horse Nail Company, and was one of the founders of Park 
Church. Caleb M. Talcott (1826-1901), born in Rockville, was 
head of the firm of Talcott & Post, at the corner of Main and Pratt 
streets, his first partner being Amos Post. He continued the busi- 
ness for many years alone. He was instrumental in forming 
the Capewell Horse Nail Company and was interested in various 
other concerns. 

George J. Capewell invented the automatic horse-nail machine. 
He was born in Birmingham, Eng., in 1843. Coming to this coun- 
try, his father was a manufacturer of firearms in Woodbury. The 
son began business for himself manufacturing light hardware in 
Cheshire. In 1880 the great Capewell Horse Nail Company was 
organized, Frank L. Howard president. Mr. Capewell retired 
from business life in 1907. The plant became the largest of its 
kind in the world and so continues. He gave liberally to public 
institutions and especially to the Hartford Hospital, where the 
X-ray building was given by the family in memory of him. 

Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft (1822-1884), a native of Dedham, 
Mass., followed his brother, Dr. G. M. Taft, in practice of homeo- 
pathy here, and by his interest in public affairs, filled a large place 
in the community. 

J. Watson Beach (1823-1887) was the son of President George 


Beach of the Phoenix Bank. He was head of the firm of Beach & 
Co., importers, formed by three brothers, George, J. Watson and 
Charles M., and afterwards continued by Charles M., T. Belknap 
and Charles Edward, grandsons of George. J. Watson Beach was 
at one time president of the Mercantile National Bank and a di- 
rector in several concerns. He was the father of Mrs. George H. 
Day, Mrs. P. H. Ingalls, Dr. C. C. Beach and George W. Beach. 

Altogether it was fertile soil for helpful institutions of all 
kinds. In 1888, Mrs. Emily Wells Foster interested herself in a 
poor blind Italian child and sent him to the Perkins Institute in 
Boston. She and the local Heart Sunshine Society soon heard of 
other cases. They had no difficulty in enlisting in their cause a 
Hartford lawyer, F. E. Cleveland, himself blind for many years. 
Arrangements were made to have the state send needy cases to 
the institute but only to find that the accommodations there were 
insufficient. Thereupon the Legislature in 1893 passed a resolu- 
tion appointing the governor and chief justice and two others a 
commission to look into the subject and allowing $300 for educa- 
tional purposes. Mrs. Foster and Mr. Cleveland were the two 
others. This was the beginning of the State Board of Education 
for the Blind and the corporation known as the Connecticut Insti- 
tute and Industrial Home for the Blind. A house was secured at 
No. 57 Kenyon Street for a nursery to which children were 
brought from around the state. A larger house was taken, on 
Asylum Street, and a kindergarten introduced. State aid was 
allowed for children of school age and Hartford women continued 
to furnish most of the funds for the rest of the expenses. Now it 
has its school department, farm and gardens in a most attractive 
locality on Holcomb Street with a thriving department of trades 
on Ridge Road. 

And the Children's Aid Society was started. Virginia Thrall, 
born in Bloomfield, her ancestors founders of Windsor, had been 
educated at Suffield Institute and at Mount Holyoke, had married 
William B. Smith and had come here to live in 1876. She organ- 
ized a corps of workers to assist "Father" (David) Hawley, the 
city missionary, giving special attention to the needs of children. 
A laundry and cooking school were established and legislation se- 


cured by which there should be kindergartens in public schools, of 
which Hartford's West Middle had one of the first in America. An 
annual fair was a feature for many years. Sunset Cottage was 
provided near the reservoirs and the Sister Dora Society drew 
many. Mrs. Smith was a member of the State Board of Charities 
for nine years. In 1887-88 came the bequests from the Lucy S. 
Church and Charles Wright estates, $62,000, and the City Mission 
Association was formed to assist in the work, with headquarters 
in its own building on Pearl Street. Levi Prosser gave his farm 
in Bloomfield. In 1892, the name was changed to the Children's 
Aid Society, and from this grew the Connecticut Children's Aid 
Society to provide homes for children and especially to care for 
crippled children at a splendidly equipped home in Newington, 
for the beginning of which the society raised the funds in 1898 to 
buy a fifty-six-acre farm. The acreage has been increased as need 
required and the buildings also. Dr. Joseph E. Root aided much 
in those earlier days when the women were giving of their time 
and their means. Mrs. Smith's son, Dr. Oliver C. Smith (before 
his untimely death) and Winchell Smith, the present eminent 
playwright and producer, helped to carry on the work, the burden 
of which the state now gladly assumes. For the value of such an 
institution in state economics has been well demonstrated. It is 
a pleasure to see the children at their seaside home at Woodmont, 
at their sports and studies and their entertainments, with their 
orchestra and their teams, in Newington. The Legislature of 
1927 appropriated $300,000 to meet immediate building require- 
ments. Governor Trumbull participated in the exercises for the 
graduating class. 

Withal, in this period, Prof. Charles H. Young, on his thirty- 
third birthday and after he had made a name for himself in 
France by the work he did on the battlefields in 1870, was enter- 
ing upon a forty-years' example of patience and endurance in his 
small second-story rooms on Asylum Street in the heart of the 
business district. He fell from a high cliff in 1886. From that 
day to the day he died, in 1927, he never left the bed by his front 
window, except once when a fire in the store beneath necessitated 
his being taken out for a short time. His knowledge of foreign 
languages enabled him to give lessons and for many years he was 
active with his pen. He was always cheerful while his readings 
made him an interesting conversationalist upon any topic. 



In insurance in this era, the Scottish Union and National and 
the Lion Fire were the first of the foreign companies to locate 
their American headquarters here. Martin Bennett, who had 
been president of the Connecticut Fire since 1873, was chosen for 
general manager in 1880. James H. Brewster, who had been as- 
sociated with Mr. Bennett in the Connecticut Fire for thirty years, 
was made assistant manager. 

There were two insurance tragedies and one happy escape 
from one. That of the Charter Oak Life was the greatest in Hart- 
ford history. In 1886, Thomas F. Plunkett, treasurer and agent 
of the Union Manufacturing Company of Manchester and an 
officer of the Hartford Silk Company of Tariffville, in both of 
which Hartford capital was strongly represented, fled to escape 
prosecution for irregularities. Charles M. Beach of West Hart- 
ford, as receiver, settled all claims so far as possible. The claims 
allowed amounted to $394,000; there were outstanding notes of 
$246,000; the assets were only $200,000. George M. Bartholo- 
mew, president of the Charter Oak and associated in many of the 
city's large enterprises, was a director in both of these companies 
and president of the Union. He had endorsed a large amount of 

As has been said, the life insurance company started most 
auspiciously in 1850, but with the vicious stock-note method of 
capitalizing. After years of brilliant success in the field, it was 
revealed that only $10 a share ever was paid on the stock, the 
remainder being paid in dividends, yet on this total dividends of 8 
per cent were paid regularly together with commissions on the 
large business done in the home office. Inasmuch as the company 
had assisted largely in financing the Connecticut Valley Railroad 
and certain concerns along the route, had invested in a mine and 
had erected its fine granite building on Main Street at what 
seemed an enormous cost, the friends of President James C. Walk- 
ley, who had held that office since 1855, became alarmed. Other 
revelations following, a receivership was narrowly avoided in 
1875 when several leading men accepted positions on the board 
of directors and ex-Governor Marshall Jewell was made presi- 
dent; drastic reform was introduced, the company was mutual- 
ized and New York men who had had a part in bringing on the 
trouble were prosecuted but were acquitted after an important 
witness had disappeared. Mr. Bartholomew was persuaded to 
take the presidency in 1878. 


Mr. Bartholomew (1816-1899) began his business life with 
Robert Watkinson of the Eagle Manufacturing Company of Glas- 
tonbury and always was closely associated with the Watkinson in- 
terests. Beginning in 1825 he was trustee of the Hartford, Provi- 
dence & Fishkill Railroad for twenty years, became its president 
and later was receiver for its successor, the Boston, Hartford & 
Erie. He had been president of the American Bank, director and 
vice president of the Connecticut Western Railroad, director in 
the Chicago & Northwestern and identified with several other 
roads. Also he was president of the Holyoke Water Power Com- 
pany and of the Union Manufacturing Company. To relieve the 
insurance company's present embarrassment, he gave his personal 
endorsement on paper amounting to two millions and a quarter, 
and with the money raised the company saved large sums in 
claims by buying up policyholders. It was too late. Insurance 
Commissioner Ephraim Williams was forced to apply for a re- 
ceiver in 1885, but the case turning on questions of valuation, the 
action was discontinued. One year later came the Plunkett sen- 

President Bartholomew told his directors that he had been 
holding a large amount of company money to prevent its being at- 
tached, but in the present embarrassment he could not pay it over ; 
he did, however, turn in securities and his personal property in 
large part, which he believed would, in time, be worth the amount 
of the indebtedness. Then he resigned. Isaac Brooks of Torring- 
ton was appointed receiver, with Edmund A. Stedman of Hart- 
ford. A dividend of I8V4 per cent had been paid policyholders at 
the end of the receivership in 1897. The fine office building, heav- 
ily mortgaged to the Aetna Insurance Company, was taken by 
that company, and when the company had built its building 
directly north thereof, it sold the other to the Aetna Life. Mr. 
Bartholomew anticipated prosecution by leaving the country. In 
1890 a petition signed by clergymen, judges, lawyers and other 
citizens to quash proceedings was handed by Governor Bulkeley to 
Judge Sanford in special court session. The petitioners dwelt 
upon the honored name, the age and the serious physical condition 
of the indicted man, holding that he did not embezzle but rather 
stood pledged for nearly $1,000,000 for the corporations he was 
charged with embezzling from — the insurance company, the silk 
company and the American Emigrant Company. Henry C. Rob- 


inson was the eminent lawyer who laid the matter before the 
judge. State's Attorney Eggleston said the purpose was to have 
the court order him to nolle the cases, but this he could not do 
consistently with his oath of office; he could not ask for nolle of 
the cases of Thomas F. Plunkett and James S. Parsons, who had 
fled. Judge Sanford regretfully denied the petition. Mr. Bar- 
tholomew returned in 1891, appeared in court and was sentenced 
on one count for one year. After that he returned to his home 
on Prospect Street and lived in retirement till his death, acquitted 
of criminality by his fellow citizens. 

The other company was the Continental in which there had 
been clashing since its organization in 1864. In 1873 "outsiders" 
put in John C. Tracy as director and James S. Parsons was chosen 
president. The failure of a brokerage firm in 1877 caused revel- 
ation of financial discrepancies and, on action by Commissioner 
0. R. Fyler, Lorrin A. Cook of Winsted and Hon. John R. Buck 
of Hartford were appointed receivers. President Parsons put 
himself beyond the reach of the court. 

In 1889, John J. McFarlane of Philadelphia, highly recom- 
mended but who eventually paid heavy penalty for wrecking an 
insurance company and a bank, bargained to buy of Aaron C. 
Goodman his controlling interest in the Phoenix Mutual Life of 
which Mr. Goodman was president. As already told this was a 
stock company, dating from 1851, on mutual principles, and had 
been very successful. The directors hearing of the plan hurried 
to the Legislature in its closing hours and secured a charter 
amendment which enabled the policyholders to buy the stock, un- 
der direction of Insurance Commissioner Fyler, John C. Parsons 
to hold the block in trust until the policyholders could vote. The 
price agreed upon was one-half that which McFarlane had offered 
before the matter became public, and McFarlane dropped out of 
the exciting proceedings. Since then the company has been purely 
mutual and it soon took rank among the leaders. Vice President 
Jonathan B. Bunce was made president by the board approved by 
the commissioner, and Secretary John M. Holcombe vice president. 

President Bunce (1832-1912) was a descendant of one of 
the original "proprietors," Thomas Bunce, who received 110 acres 
of land for service in the Pequot war. After working with his 
father, James M. Bunce, in his wholesale house, he went to New 
York as a partner in the firm of Dibble & Bunce, but returned to 
the firm of J. M. Bunce & Co. when his father died. Drayton 


Hillyer was one of the firm. At the outbreak of the war, Mr. 
Bunce was quartermaster-general on Governor Buckingham's 
staff and outfitted nine regiments of infantry, a battalion of cav- 
alry and three companies of artillery before he returned to his 
own business. It was largely because of his zeal and industry 
that, as has been said, the first Connecticut regiments to arrive 
in Washington received such hearty praise from General Scott 
because they were the first that had appeared well outfitted. He 
withdrew from the mercantile business after fifteen years to take 
the vice presidency of the Phoenix Mutual Life. In 1904 he re- 
signed to accept the presidency of the Society for Savings, a high 
post of honor, but continued as chairman of the board and of the 
finance committee of the insurance company. He was associated 
also with the Hartford Fire, the Phoenix National Bank and the 
Connecticut Trust and Safe Deposit Company and with the School 
for the Deaf, the Retreat and the Hartford Hospital. He was a 
brother of Admiral F. M. Bunce and of William Gedney Bunce, 
the artist. 

In the Hartford Fire, Charles E. Chase, son of Pres. George L. 
Chase, was appointed assistant secretary in 1890. In the Aetna, 
William B. Clark, who had been an officer of the company since 
1867 and who was to live to be the dean of insurance presidents, 
was made president in 1892. The Connecticut was paying all 
dividends out of income from assets. Mark Howard, who had 
been president of the National Fire since its organization in 1871, 
died in 1887. He was born in Loose, England, in 1817, and had 
been special agent for the Protection before coming to Hartford. 
He was the first internal revenue collector for Connecticut. James 
Nichols was promoted to the presidency ; he was a native of Wes- 
ton, born in 1830, a lawyer by profession, and from 1861 judge 
of probate till he became adjuster and special agent for the Mer- 
chants in 1867, four years before the reorganization as the Na- 
tional. S. C. Preston, who had succeeded to the presidency of the 
Orient in 1874, was succeeded in 1883 by John W. Brooks of Tor- 
rington and he, in 1886, by Charles B. Whiting. The Hartford 
Steam Boiler and Inspection Insurance Company in 1883 in- 
creased capital to $250,000 with a $50,000 stock dividend and 
doubled the capital in 1887. The Connecticut General Life and 
Aetna Life' were taking on accident insurance. With the two ex- 
ceptions that have been named, all the insurance companies were 
entering upon a new era of prosperity. 




The Wadsworth Atheneum, which through the years since 
1841, with its associated organizations, had been furnishing the 
cultural undercurrent of a wide and busy community, was ap- 
proaching a condition of great embarrassment through the '80s — 
of special historical interest in 1927-28 because of the recurrence. 
Like non-state colleges, such an institution may be well endowed 
and yet be poverty-stricken. In this instance the organizations 
had funds which were giving them a national name, but they 
lacked the wherewithal for enlargement and for maintenance. The 
recently formed art society had saved the art gallery from closing, 
and now the problem was how to save the public library, make 
that free and also give the historical society and the Watkinson 
Library the space they must have. In 1883 the city was author- 
ized to pay a tax of one-fifth of one mill for the support of a free 
library and art gallery and a special commission recommended 
such tax. But the combination of problems was of a nature that 
made action slow, even though it was a time when all the country, 
and the state in particular, was realizing the value of libraries. 
It was impossible to add harmoniously to the Atheneum building 
because the Glastonbury quarry which had furnished the stone 
had run out and Daniel Wadsworth's deed of gift made it impos- 
sible to remove from the site of his father's historic mansion. 

The Legislature in 1886 authorized the Atheneum to become a 
closed corporation, to solidify and perpetuate the institution, and 
the trustees of the two libraries and the historical society, each to 
be represented on the board, adopted a plan by which the Athen- 
eum should be enabled to appeal for public aid. Rev. Dr. Goodwin 
was made president of the board. But just previously,, in 1888, 
he had been able to announce that his cousin, Junius Spencer 
Morgan, native of Hartford but then conducting his world-wide 



banking business at his London office, would give one-quarter of 
the $400,000 required; J. Pierpont Morgan of New York, $50,- 
000 ; Lucy Morgan Goodwin and her sons, James J. and Francis, 
of Hartford, $50,000 ; and Henry and Walter Keney of Hartford, 
$50,000, and Roland Mather would add $25,000 to his earlier gift 
of $10,000, leaving only $125,000 to be obtained by public sub- 
scription. At least 2,000, of every walk in life, responded instant- 
ly to the call. When the large brick addition to the rear of the 
main building and the reconstructed building itself were opened 
on New Year's, 1893, Charles Hopkins Clark of the subscription 
committee said: "There was no soliciting; we just held the hat 
and you filled it." The free library was established in the addi- 
tion, the Watkinson Library above it, and the historical society 
succeeded to the second-floor space which the Watkinson had va- 
cated. The trustees of the Watkinson had voted for the addition 
$25,000 in land which was part of their property. 

This was running true to old Hartford tradition once more. 
But on leaving the building that day Doctor Goodwin said to J. 
Pierpont Morgan that the only drawback was that the south side 
of the building was on the property line. Soon after, he received 
from Mr. Morgan a deed to a part of the adjoining property and 
eventually deeds to all the remaining property in the block as far 
as Arch Street, costing $200,000 and occupied by St. John's 
Church, dwellings and stores. It will be seen later that the Mor- 
gan Memorial was erected near the Atheneum and that the prop- 
erty south of it was given for the site of the Municipal Building 
and for Atheneum (Street) South. 

Dr. James Hammond Trumbull in 1890 resigned the office of 
librarian of the Watkinson which he had held for twenty-seven 
years, and was made librarian emeritus. His purchases for the 
library had been so well chosen that in 1890 they could have been 
sold for more than twice what had been paid for them. He was 
succeeded by Frank B. Gay, who had joined the Young Men's In- 
stitute in 1873. He became assistant librarian of the public 
library and in 1883 assistant to Librarian Trumbull of the Wat- 

Of very substantial worth and credit to the city was the hous- 
ing of the Newton Case Library of the Hartford Theological Semi- 
nary on Broad Street in 1892. In the attractively designed struc- 
ture, adding much to the effect of the seminary's other buildings 


in the block, there was space for 500,000 volumes and ample con- 
ference rooms. What with the state library, the bar library and 
the Trinity College library also, the town was well equipped. 

Of quite a different nature and somewhat pyrotechnical was a 
simultaneous enterprise which was to prove to be the greatest in 
the history of Hartford and the whole county up to the time of this 
writing. From earliest times the great thoroughfares through 
the state toward Boston had been through Hartford and across the 
river here. It was the King's Highway. As has been chronicled, 
there has been a bridge here since 1810. The only other King's 
Highway was along the Sound shore to Providence but, until the 
toll bridge was built in recent years, with ferry near the mouth 
of the river. For years the public had demanded a free bridge 
here. As has been seen, the bridge company's charter was called 
"perpetual" and adjoining towns could not see that they should 
buy it out and assume maintenance when benefit was for a great 
general public, recognizable by the state. The state's principle 
always had been that adjoining towns construct and care for the 
bridges between them. 

Complaint was so general that the Legislature of 1887 decreed 
that the bridge should be bought and freed and that Hartford on 
the west side and East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester and 
South Windsor on the east side should pay $210,000. The storm 
which followed was only the first of a series on into the next cen- 
tury. The Legislature of 1889 met it by granting an appropria- 
tion for 40 per cent of the amount; the towns paid the balance, 
the bridge was free and the selectmen of the towns were given the 
management. One of their first acts was to grant the street rail- 
way the right to cross the bridge, a right which had been refused 
by the bridge company because it placed a burden upon the struc- 
ture never contemplated. And the covered wood affair, standing 
since 1818, obviously was too decrepit to continue much longer. 
Charles W. Roberts of East Hartford was the superintendent. 
George W. Fowler of Hartford was chairman of the joint board 
in charge. 

The towns groaned under the cost of maintenance and the 
prospect of a new bridge. Effort to put the burden on the state, 
because it was such a general highway, met with success in the 
Legislature of 1893 but with a repercussion that set the whole 

35— VOL. 1 


state agog. A bill of $25,000 was paid to a law firm for services 
in the employ of the selectmen of the towns and much more was 
said to have been spent in the lobby. J. H. Hale of Glastonbury, 
one of the commission named by the state on taking over the 
bridge, resigned when he learned of these things. His town held 
a meeting to denounce lobbying expenditure. Hartford did like- 
wise and an investigation was demanded by many. It was finally 
concluded all around that the lawyers and not the legislators got 
the money. Henry L. Goodwin of East Hartford won through the 
Supreme Court an injunction against his town's paying its share 
of the lawyers' bill. It was apparent that all had wanted such 
legislation but only by proper method. It became the important 
issue of the 1895 legislative session, and the outcome was that the 
act of the previous session was repealed, the towns were to resume 
the burden, a good part of local street railway taxes should be 
given them, and there should be a regular bridge and highway 
commission. The commissioners named were among the foremost 
citizens — Morgan G. Bulkeley (who continued as chairman till 
his death), Meigs H. Whaples, John G. Root and John H. Hall, all 
of Hartford; James W. Cheney of Manchester, Alembert 0. Cros- 
by of Glastonbury, John A. Stoughton of East Hartford (who de- 
clined and was succeeded by Charles W. Roberts), and Lewis 
Sperry of South Windsor. 

The pyrotechnics came while the Legislature was still debat- 
ing — in the evening of May 17, 1895, when the old bridge caught 
fire, and despite the work of the firemen, burned out, like so much 
tinder. Thousands gathered on the river banks to watch the spec- 
tacle. The Berlin Iron Bridge Company, which already had a 
contract, quickly built a temporary bridge and when the winter 
storms destroyed that, another. 

The act of 1895 had provided for an issue of $500,000 bonds 
and for an apportionment of expenses. Glastonbury refused to 
pay orders for its share of the work till the Supreme Court decided 
it should. Springfield and other up-river towns fought stren- 
uously for a draw and the government upset plans by ordering one 
in 1903, but the order subsequently was rescinded on its being 
shown that, by the plan proposed, any shipping that could navi- 
gate the river could pass under the bridge. In 1901 there were 
three plans under consideration: All stone, $1,000,000; steel 
arch, $878,000 ; steel girder, $782,000. Hartford's Board of Trade 


and Business Men's Association voted vociferously for a stone 
bridge and a fitting Hartford approach ; the Common Council fol- 
lowed suit and the people in a city meeting voted by large majori- 
ties for the stone plan and for $709,000 for extension of the Hart- 
ford approaches. Adjoining land for the causeway at the east 
end cost $500,000. The other towns had to pay only the appor- 
tioned 21 per cent of the originally estimated $500,000 — Hartford 
the balance. The cornerstone of the east pier was laid in 1904; 
the story of the celebration in 1908 will be told further on, with 
the other events of its time. 

It was when industry was at high pitch, when people were 
enjoying themselves as never before and when they were showing 
the fine spirit that met the demands for the free library and the 
great stone bridge that the community was visited with its worst 
tragedy. Hotels in America were entering upon that era when 
comforts should mean something more than a bed and washstand 
and two or three long dining tables. The old American to the east 
of State House Square was to linger many more years as a relic of 
past splendor. The United States, across State Street from the 
State House was adapting its stage-coach traditions to modern 
times; the City Hotel down Main Street was the resort for com- 
mercial travelers; Timothy M. Allyn's famous Allyn House at the 
corner of Asylum and Trumbull streets, the place of assemblage 
for political, business and social clans; the Heublein on Lewis and 
Wells streets — long a happy reminder of the colonial institutions 
like the Bunch of Grapes tavern — was coming to furnish most 
acceptably something more than inner refreshment, and the Park 
Central had been built at the corner of High and Allyn streets as 
what was considered a fine example of the up-to-date hostelry. 
The Park Central was well filled with permanent and transient 
guests on the bitterly cold night of February 17-18, 1889, when a 
sleepy engineer allowed the water to go low and shortly before 
dawn there was an explosion that aroused the city. Twenty-three 
people were killed and many more injured as walls and floors fell. 
Among the killed were the daughter of Brig.-Gen. C. P. Graham 
of Middletown and her husband, Louis H. Bronson of Hartford, 
together with their child; Rev. Dr. LaVallette Perrin, formerly 


pastor of the First Church in New Britain, then of Torrington 
and latterly in charge of the Congregational Memorial Building 
on Asylum Street; Mrs. Perrin, and Dwight H. Buel, native of 
Litchfield, for many years proprietor of a large Hartford jewelry 
store. Soldiers joined the police and firemen and relays of civil- 
ians in guarding and searching the ruins for two days. 

An unparalleled incident in the national guard soon after was 
to shock the military sensibilities of General Graham, command- 
ing the four regiments, and of several of his officers. That fall 
he issued orders for intensive drill which should keep his com- 
mand up to its high standard. The Hartford companies of the 
First Regiment, Col. W. E. Cone, in their armory on Elm Street, 
which once had been a rink, were proud of the record they bore. 
For two years a local amusement association had held hot polo 
contests there, but with the understanding that it would secure 
another place by 1889. The quartermaster-general granted its 
application for use of the armory two nights a week and was sup- 
ported therein by Governor Bulkeley. The Hartford officers re- 
signed and believed they should receive honorable discharge since 
they had served more than five years and resignations of staff 
officers must be accepted on approval by their superiors. General 
Graham returned the resignations, in hope of adjusting the mat- 
ter. All but those of the staff and one lieutenant were sent back 
to him and were forwarded without his endorsement. By direc- 
tion of the governor, Adjt.-Gen. Lucius A. Barbour disapproved 
the resignations on ground of insufficient reasons, himself re- 
signed and was succeeded by A. H. Embler of New Haven, for- 
merly major of the Foot Guard of Hartford, like Colonel Cone a 
Civil war veteran and one of the most efficient officers in the state. 

The resignations again were sent up and with no endorse- 
ment by Graham. When requested to endorse, he wrote, "Ap- 
proved, with regret," his resignation was demanded and by order 
of the governor the other officers, mostly prominent citizens, were 
discharged for unlawful combination, Colonel Cone, Lieut.-Col. 
Charles E. Thompson (who had just returned from Europe) and 
Major Smith dishonorably, and Capts. Edward Schulze and 
George B. Newton for the benefit of the service. The staff officers 
were honorably discharged ; resignations of subalterns were dis- 
approved. Capt. A. L. Thompson was directed to assume com- 


mand. The matter of armory rental was left to the Legislature. 
The law firm of Hyde, Gross & Hyde gave the opinion that the 
officers were still in the service as there had been no court martial 
and the bill of rights had been violated. Graham, refusing to re- 
sign, was honorably discharged and Col. Thomas L. Watson ap- 
pointed by Governor Bulkeley. Capt. C. B. Erichson of New Brit- 
tain was nominated and appointed colonel; Capt. A. L. Thomp- 
son of that city, lieutenant-colonel ; Capt. P. H. Smith of Hartford, 
major. Captain Schulze was reinstated. By quo warranto against 
the new officers, the contest got into court. It was dragging along 
when Graham appealed to the Senate in 1891 where, against the 
report of a special committee and on the principle that an officer 
who could not be appointed without consent of the Senate could 
not be discharged without such consent, the appointment of Wat- 
son was disapproved. During recess following adjournment, the 
governor discharged Graham for the benefit of the service and re- 
appointed Watson. That officer later resigned and Colonel Haven 
of New London was appointed. Graham petitioned the Senate 
for removal of the stain on his record but the Senate voted 11 to 10 
that it had no power. Subsequently the stain was removed when 
Graham was made adjutant-general by Governor Coffin in 1895. 
After a long period, the cases in court were dropped. 

This exceptional affair was only one of the incidents, in its 
later stages, of what was known as the "deadlock session." Mor- 
gan G. Bulkeley's ability and popularity as a mayor had contrib- 
uted to successful nomination for governor on the republican 
ticket in 1888. Samuel E. Merwin, republican, and Luzon B. 
Morris, democrat, both of New Haven, were the candidates two 
years later. On the face of the returns the latter had twenty-six 
majority, but with sufficient "specked" ballots to cause investiga- 
tion in the Legislature; and if the majority vote were overcome, 
the election would have to be by the Legislature under the law 
because there were 3,600 votes for other candidates. The Senate, 
which was democratic, refusing to join with the republican House 
in the investigation, declared Morris elected and swore him in. 
Comptroller Nicholas Staub locked the door leading from the ex- 
ecutive chamber to the hall of the House. Governor Bulkeley, who 
was holding over, had it reopened with the use of a crow-bar. Ex- 
citement continued to run high and only the self-possession of the 
men most concerned prevented rioting. Quo warranto action by 


Morris was finally agreed upon. Chief Justice Andrews, demo- 
crat and formerly governor, in giving the opinion of the court in 
favor of Bulkeley, said : "It is perhaps not too much to hope that 
the General Assembly will make haste to put an end to the anoma- 
lous condition of our election law." In 1901 the plurality law was 
adopted by that body in place of the majority law. Governor Bul- 
keley, who was president of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, 
advanced the funds for state expenses during the deadlock and 
was reimbursed at the next session. 

Another reform resulted from a period of distress in 1889, 
another survival of the old days was lopped off, when it was de- 
creed that the Legislature no longer should sit as a criminal 
court. Hartford furnished the culminating illustration of the 
error of that. A man named Swift had been sentenced to hang 
for killing his wife. Appeal was made to the Legislature for com- 
mutation to life sentence, chiefly because the man was drunk at 
the time of the murder. The Judiciary Committee was composed 
of able lawyers who freely expressed their opinion of bringing 
such matters to the General Assembly and, over-burdened with 
more appropriate subjects, reported in favor of commutation. By 
narrow margins, and in utter repugnance, both houses followed 
this lead. Governor Bulkeley promptly sent in his veto. The Sen- 
ate insisted but the House sustained the veto 121 to 96, and thus, 
through disagreeing action, the decision of the courts prevailed. 
Subsequent legislation made that the last instance of confusing 
legislative and judiciary functions. 

Those of today who lived through that pre-twentieth-century 
period can but be impressed, in this review of it, by the force and 
steadiness of the progress, without exploitation, and by the man- 
ner in which both chastenings and problems were met, as well as 
by the proud, general achievements which are still and long will 
be a source of enjoyment. The city's increase in population to 
53,000 in 1890 was an increase of but 11,000 for the decade, but 
the foundations were then being laid for an increase in the suc- 
ceeding ten years 150 per cent greater than this. That for a hun- 
dred years this territory had had the name of being the home of 
ingenius and skilled mechanics was simply bound to draw other 


highly intelligent workmen to it as industry was entering upon a 
new stage. Lines of nationality were being forgotten ; men were 
being taken for what they were worth, and there was need of the 
strong arm no less than of the deft finger and the alert brain. 

As in the previous decades the newcomers were being assimi- 
lated largely through interest of their predecessors but more 
largely, perhaps, through the native spirit of kindness and coop- 
eration. If since 1633 the history of Connecticut can be read in 
the record of the churches, so in this period the record of the 
churches furnishes irrefutable evidence of the assimilation of 
those from continental Europe. The Irish Roman Catholics were 
constantly advancing, along with the Protestants, the Germans 
were bringing not only their societies but their churches, but here 
now were appearing the Swedish Baptists (1888) — in the same 
year with the Adventists — the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran 
(1889), and that same year the French Roman Catholics, to be 
followed in rapid succession by others, as will appear in the '90s. 

In evidence of what newcomers could bring by way of learn- 
ing, fellowship and patriotism may be cited the life of Rabbi Mey- 
er Elkins (1832-1915). His parents died soon after his birth in 
Breslau in 1832. His hardships were relieved by neighbors and 
by Rabbi Arnstein, under whose tutelage he developed a thirst 
for knowledge. At an early age his writings had attracted the 
attention of the chief rabbi of England, Dr. S. Adler, and he was 
called to be rabbi of the temple in Liverpool. Only three in the 
congregation understood his German tongue. He readily met the 
requirement that he master English within the year. In 1872 
he was made rabbi of Beth Israel in Philadelphia, which office he 
had to give up to live in the West on account of his wife's health. 
After her death he came to the congregation here in 1887, 
continuing his duties till 1912 when he was retired on salary and 
was succeeded by Rabbi Harry W. Ettleson. Liberal in his the- 
ology and of broad, democratic views, he was full of public spirit 
and planted seeds of charity and patriotism. Isidore Wise and 
Dr. A. J. Wolfe, the eminent bacteriologist, were among the men 
who assisted him in his work, and other leaders he had won to 
himself carried on for him till his death, and after. The con- 
gregation was — and now in association with other congregations 
continues to be — a potent factor in the city's development and 


A severe loss had been suffered in 1887 when Rev. Dr. Na- 
thaniel J. Burton of the Park Congregational Church died as the 
result of a carriage accident. This was the old North Church 
which had removed to Asylum Street in 1866 after the pastorate 
of Rev. Dr. Horace Bushnell who had fought for the principle of 
catholicity of faith. Dr. Burton, who was born in Trumbull in 
1824 and was graduated at Wesleyan in 1850, had been called 
to this city from West Haven to be pastor of the Fourth Church, 
which pastorate he resigned in 1870 to accept that of the Park 

In 1885 a committee of twenty was appointed to arouse in- 
terest in the subject of liquor licenses and other public questions, 
with Charles E. Gross as secretary. Three years later a public 
meeting ratified the report of a committee of ten, consisting of 
Rev. Dr. E. P. Parker and other clergymen, Judge Nathaniel 
Shipman, Henry C. Robinson, W. F. Henney, J. A. Smith, F. P. 
Lepard and Col. Jacob L. Greene, relative to public morals and 
to charities, and Judge Shipman was made chairman of a perma- 
nent committee. 

The memory of Thomas Hooker was ever an inspiration to 
good citizenship. An association of his descendants was formed 
in 1889, with John Hooker as president, Seth Talcott, Mrs. Mar- 
tha W. Hooker and Gen. Alfred H. Terry, Henry G. Newton and 
Charles E. North of New Haven, vice presidents; Mrs. Emily 
Curtis of Hartford and Thomas W. Hooker secretary and treas- 
urer respectively. 

Now was the first marked tendency in the county as a whole 
away from agriculture toward industrialism. The county was 
ranking fourth in the United States in agricultural importance 
but the factories were exercising their drawing power. Secre- 
tary W. F. Andross of the County Agricultural and Horticultural 
Societies was complaining that Hartford did not give enough 
support to the state fair to warrant its being held longer at Char- 
ter Oak Park in preference to Meriden, and to Meriden the fair 
went for the year 1889. A deficit resulted but Meriden people 
made it up and offered inducements. Then followed years of 
hesitation and doubts about the fair itself, say nothing of loca- 
tion; the character of the exhibitions and entertainment changed; 


state and local associations, interested in dairies, horticulture 
and various branches of agriculture, were formed, state appro- 
priations for local or county fairs were obtained, a Connecticut 
Fair Association was formed, the law against betting at horse 
races took Charter Oak Park out of the national circuit, and al- 
together the business of fairs was an index to the change in the 
times. Thus on till business men and manufacturers, like Henry- 
Trumbull of Plainville, have come to see the wisdom of having 
Connecticut farms, so fast being abandoned, find a way to profit- 
able representation in the Connecticut market, one of the best 
and most easily reached in America; to have a fair at Charter 
Oak where industry and agriculture should combine; to build 
attractive permanent buildings at the park, and to be assured of 
the financial backing of the state. With the cooperation of those 
who already have established famous farms, the promise of some- 
thing practical for Connecticut itself is more dependable than 
was that at the time the agricultural college was being endowed 
by the Legislature. 

Manufacturing enterprises mentioned in the preceding pages 
were devising and progressing when the Hartford Board of Trade 
was organized in 1888 with Jeremiah M. Allen as president (for 
the next ten years) and P. H. Woodward secretary. Both of 
these were insurance men, wherein is indication of the scope of 
this the first real general council of business interests. Mr. 
Allen for many years was president of the Hartford Steam Boiler 
Inspection and Insurance Company and president of the Y. M. 
C. A. Mr. Woodward was an officer in the Connecticut General 
Life Insurance Company. The function of the board was not so 
much to invite or advertise as it was to record annually and to 
diffuse information of what Hartford concerns were doing, and 
also to secure closer community of interests. The first building 
it erected, on the corner of Capitol Avenue and Woodbine Street 
was specifically for the accommodation of young concerns that 
were seeking to get a start — and it was taken in 1900, soon after 
it was finished, by an outside company attracted here by the repu- 
tation for fine mechanics. 

But that carries back to 1885 and the first typewriter, the 
caligraph. The American Writing Machine Company which 
made it was brought here from Corry, Pennsylvania, through the 


instrumentality of George A. Fairfield of the Hartford Machine 
Screw Company who had answered questions about the character 
of Hartford workmen. The machines, which were crude but 
were welcomed by business concerns, were made at the screw 
company's works till the so-called typewriter trust took over the 
company and the manufacture was discontinued. 

Employed by the caligraph concern was Charles D. Rice who 
later, after two years with the Yost Writing Machine Company 
in Bridgeport, returned to Hartford as chief engineer of the Pope 
Manufacturing Company, making Columbia and Hartford 
bicycles and automobiles. When the bicycle business was discon- 
tinued here, Mr. Rice went with the Underwood Company of 
Bayonne, New Jersey. With this proposition of skilled labor, 
Mr. Rice influenced the founder of that company to move his 
typewriter business to Hartford. The Board of Trade Building, 
which latterly had been the property of the Hartford Cycle Com- 
pany, was bought and in 1901 the concern came, with 300 men 
to start with on less than 100,000 square feet of space — now with 
5,000 employees and twenty-four acres of space, the largest type- 
writer plant in the world, Mr. Rice still in charge and still greater 
plans maturing as will be seen later on. These figures do not 
include the Bridgeport plant where the portable writers are made. 
Another concern of the Underwood group, to develop rapidly in 
Hartford, is the Underwood Computing Company, making book- 
keeping machines. 

Industries were being diversified. Colt's Patent Fire Arms 
Manufacturing Company had added graphophones and phono- 
graphs to its list for ingenious mechanisms. The National Ma- 
chine Company on Sheldon Street was making torpedoes, an order 
for the French government in 1888 having attracted much at- 
tention. The Beach Manufacturing Company, producing fleece- 
lined goods, was getting well established at its plant on Grove and 
Commerce streets, with George W. Beach as president. The use 
of chain and sprocket on the bicycles furnished the Whitney 
Manufacturing Company with a specialty over and above the 
machine devices it was making and "Whitney Chains" became 
well known. Various improvements brought still more prestige, 
and with the advent of the automobiles, business increased four- 
fold. Outside inventions, like that of the self-starter, caused a 
demand for the specially adapted machinery and upon the ex- 


perienced men at Whitney's. Camshaft or timing chains come 
in chief part from the same factory. Smith, Bourne & Co., with 
name changed to the Smith-Worthington Company, long-time 
producers of saddlery, undisturbed by automobile inroads, were 
pressed to meet the requirements of the revival of riding. 

Francis Henry Richards was the leader among many individ- 
uals whose inventive genius was rapidly intensifying the possi- 
bilities of machinery, a man who has come to rank second only to 
Thomas A. Edison as inventor and patent-holder and wider in 
his field than the famous "wizard," a man who has done his work 
so quietly from within that his name is unfamiliar to the average 
reader. He was born in New Hartford, a direct descendant of 
Thomas Richards, one of the Hartford pioneers, and of William 
Whiting who, with his son and grandson in succession, kept the 
office of colonial treasurer in the family from 1641 for nearly one 
hundred years. When in 1865 Mr. Richards' father became 
head of the machinery department of the Stanley Rule and Level 
Company in New Britain, the boy went with him and soon was 
devising machines. From 1882 to 1886 he was at Pratt & Whit- 
ney's, leaving only to establish his own office here where he con- 
tinued till 1924 when he removed his residence to Stamford to 
be nearer his main office of today, in New York. Among his in- 
ventions that have given employment to thousands of Hartford 
mechanics are an envelope machine, an automatic weigher, the 
fundamental principles of the air-cushion door-springs, a process 
for making golf balls which revolutionized the industry, and a 
revolving grate appliance for giant coke furnaces. 

The Hartford Electric Light Company, led by men like Austin 
C. Dunham, of remarkable courage and foresight, was forcing 
electricity to produce its incredible results. At this particular 
stage of its progress it had undertaken and accomplished the 
substitution of direct power from the main plant for home-made 
power for running a factory. People — and not a few stockhold- 
ers — laughed, not all of them gleefully, when in 1890 the drop- 
forge plant of Billings & Spencer was wired with promise that 
power would be furnished at wholesale rates. It was successful 
and the cut rates, the savings to the manufacturer, meant rapid 
increase in demand for power. The Hartford Rubber Works 
Company, among the first to use electricity for lighting, was 
almost simultaneously scrapping its troublesome and expensive 


power plant for power from the Dunham company. And it be- 
came general. Other electrical achievements will be summar- 
ized later. 

The great Pope plants were reaching their culmination. 
Their story is indelibly the story of their times — brilliant genius, 
courage, consideration of employees, victim of confused groping 
for capital in the period when, nationwise, capital was beginning 
to pile up. Of the three men who contributed to bring Hartford 
fame the leader was Albert A. Pope. Of a family of strong men 
he was born in Boston in 1843. When his father met with losses 
and moved to Brookline, the boy worked for farmers and at 
twelve had established a business for himself, peddling produce, 
afterwards going into the shoe-finding business. In the Civil 
war he went out as a second lieutenant in a Massachusetts com- 
pany and returned a lieutenant-colonel. In a few years he had 
the largest shoe-finding concern in the country. When he saw 
a bicycle at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876, the whole tenor 
of his life was changed. 

Making a trip to England in 1877, he placed the first large 
order for bicycles and his active mind had conceived the plan 
which was to result in the Pope Manufacturing Company. The 
following spring he gave the Weed Manufacturing Company the 
first order for the manufacture of wheels, and George H. Day 
became affiliated with that concern which still had the class of 
workingmen that had brought prestige during the flowery days 
of the Weed sewing machine. Under the influence of the bicycles 
the value of the stock sped up from $5 to $75 in 1885 and reor- 
ganization became necessary. With Mr. Day as president, capi- 
tal was reduced from $600,000 to $240,000 by making par $10 
instead of $25. In 1890 Colonel Pope bought that company, pay- 
ing $15 a share for it. He was the owner of the patents for the 
Columbia bicycle which continued the favorite machine, with the 
company's "Hartford" next, through the days when men, women 
and children were riding. More buildings and a fine office had 
to be erected on Capitol Avenue, branches were established and 
in 1890, the Hartford Cycle Company was formed as a derivative. 
The introduction of low wheel, the rubber tires and soon the 
pneumatic tires and then the chainless wheel aroused more and 
more public furor. Capital was increased several times. Need- 



Pioneer in bicycle and automobile industries 

and building good roads 


Photographed near the corner of Main and Pearl Streets, Hartford. He first ran a 
vehicle propelled by gasoline in 1895 


ing tubes, the colonel built the Pope Tube Works ; needing rubber 
he took the Hartford Rubber Works. 

When the coming automobile cast its shadow before, he was 
quick to detect it, along with Mr. Day. Electrics were the first 
consideration and the elaborate plant of the Columbia Electric 
Vehicle Company at the corner of Park and Laurel streets (now 
Billings & Spencer) told of the determination to lead in this 
industry. There were problems in financing. The bicycle busi- 
ness went to the American Bicycle Company. Subsequently, 
when that concern was about to collapse, he bought its stock and 
formed the new Pope Manufacturing Company for the manu- 
facture of both bicycles and automobiles. 

Meanwhile Hiram Percy Maxim, then an engineer in the 
Thomson-Houston Electric Company at Lynn, Massachusetts, 
had visited Hartford to get tubing for an experiment with an 
engine run by the new thing, liquid gas, the engine to be attached 
to a tricycle. Mr. Day was especially interested and had Maxim 
come here for his experiments. A few weeks later, in September, 
1895, Mr. Maxim astonished and amused the public by appearing 
on Park Street with the first practical gasolene car of which there 
is authentic record in America. There had been reasonably en- 
couraging experiments in foreign lands and doubtless some in 
this country, but no inventor had knowledge of the others' doings, 
and since Dr. Apollos Kinsley ran his steam car on Main Street in 
1797 — following in the footsteps of Nathan Read, also of Hart- 
ford, ten years earlier, — and since Christopher M. Spencer was 
annoying the farmers hereabouts with his roaring steam car 
along the highways in the early '60s, it is not of record that there 
had been such an innovation as this gas car. "It was a three- 
cylinder, four-cycle engine," says Mr. Maxim, — "no brake, no 
reverse, and the carburetor a nightmare. Fortunately there 
were jounces enough to keep the engine from stalling." In an- 
other year the car was running to New York and Boston and the 
great Pope Hartford, of which some are in service today, was 
born. "Those first miles," Mr. Maxim declares, "were filled with 
adventure and the spirit of conquest." His father, Sir Hiram S. 
Maxim, had been the first to make the airplane fly, in England in 

Could the promoters have had their way, Hartford might 


have been the Detroit of today, but much ready capital was 
needed and there was more that was idle in the vicinity of Detroit. 
The days of the colonel's products at other plants, in addition to 
the Pope Hartford — cars like the Pope Toledo of Toledo, the Pope 
Tribune of Hagerstown, Pennsylvania, and the Pope Waverly of 
Indianapolis, — are conspicuous in the annals of the automobile. 
But the early days of the automobile industry in America were 
feverish; some reviewers maintain that the rivalry to improve 
on the foreign models and adapt them to the rougher and longer 
roads of America was too strenuous though the final outcome was 

The Pope Manufacturing Company had a capital $22,500,000 
when in 1904 the Pope Motor Company was organized, $1,000,000 
capital, with the colonel as president, his son Albert L. Pope as 
vice president and Col. George Pope as treasurer. Of the parent 
company Albert L. Pope was first vice president, Col. George 
Pope treasurer and C. E. Walker and Wilbur Walker second vice 
president and secretary respectively. After four years the mo- 
tor company's name disappeared from the Hartford records and 
in 1916 the record of the main company read: "George Pope, re- 
ceiver." This was due largely to the attitude of outside stock- 
holders and also to the fact that western competition in com- 
pleted cars was becoming keen. There was a somewhat similar 
story in Springfield and Bridgeport, and New England was to 
learn that her share in the new industry would be the furnishing 
of "automotive parts," in which ingenious Hartford continued to 
excel. The Westfield bicycle plant — formerly the Lozier — went 
at a low figure and was built up to its present capacity by the 
Walkers. The main Hartford plant went to the neighboring 
Pratt & Whitney Company and was to know few days of idleness. 

With all his activities, Col. A. A. Pope made time for promot- 
ing the cause of good roads, arousing the legislatures and Con- 
gress. While his home was near Boston, he was in Hartford 
much of the time and the Pope Park he bestowed will preserve 
the memory of him as one who gave much thought to the recrea- 
tion and pleasure of the public as a whole. He died in 1909. 
Col. George Pope was a cousin of Albert A. Pope. At twenty he 
was a captain in the famous colored regiment of Colonel Shaw of 
Massachusetts in the Civil war and a year later was lieutenant- 
colonel. He came to Hartford in 1890 as president of the Hart- 


ford Cycle Company. After a few years he went to New York 
but returned and was conspicuous in the work for the new bridge. 
Four terms, or till his death in 1918, he was president of the 
National Association of Manufacturers and a worker in the cause 
of good roads. He won the coveted honor of an election to the 
Albany Burgess Company. 

Fifth in descent from Gen. Israel Putnam, George H. Day was 
born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1851. After the Pope company 
took over the Weed plant he continued in charge as vice president 
and general manager and was instrumental in having the head- 
quarters of the company removed here from Boston in 1894. In 
1899 he went into other enterprises and did much to develop the 
manufacture of automobiles. When the American Bicycle Com- 
pany combination of concerns was planned and much capital 
sought, the Pope company joined with the others, Col. Albert L. 
Pope as manager. On the organization of the Columbia Vehicle 
Company Mr. Day was made president and general manager. 
This position he resigned to organize the Association of Licensed 
Automobile Manufacturers, licensed under the patents of George 
B. Selden who himself had put forth little that was practical but 
who won his contention that in his patents of 1879 he had covered 
some of the essential ideas. The Electric Vehicle Company, hold- 
ing exclusive rights to the patents, sublet them to other companies 
while the patents were good, and in the days before Henry Ford 
assumed his attitude. Mr. Day continued for some time as gen- 
eral manager of the association but in his later days, and until 
his death in 1903, his time was devoted to his duties as member 
of the boards of oncoming enterprises like the Underwood. In 
the presidency of the Electric Vehicle Company he was succeeded 
by M. J. Budlong. 

The Hartford Rubber Works, which continued to grow and 
is now a chief part of the national organization of the United 
States Rubber Company with its nearly 20,000 square miles of 
rubber plantations in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, had 
been started by John W. Gray, a Hartford rubber merchant, in 
1881. Robert W. Thompson of England had patented rubber 
tires in 1847, and in the early '70s they began to be seen on ex- 
pensive carriages in this country, but it was only as if they had 
come to prepare the way for the bicycle and the automobile. 
Gray's company began making solid tires in 1885. When the 

36— VOL. 1 



Hartford Rubber Works Company was incorporated in 1888, its 
capital was $20,000. The Pope company in 1892 increased the 
capital to $200,000. There was reorganization as the Rubber 
Goods Manufacturing Company in 1899 and the first solid motor- 
tire was made there. From then on it brought out one improved 
tire after another, enlarging as the fast increasing business re- 
quired. After its acquisition in 1917 by the United States Rub- 
ber Company, it was enlarged still more and kept on as the Hart- 
ford Rubber Works Company, lessee of the United States Rubber 
Company and with its United States royal cord tire as its chief 
product. The first use of fabric was suggested and worked out 
by Charles D. Rice, now of the Underwood Typewriter Company. 

Removed to make way for the State Arsenal and Armory, dedicated in 1909 




The period which, in lighter vein, is sometimes called in gen- 
eral history the "Roaring Nineties" found Hartford County still 
conservative, undisturbed about the future but steadily planning 
for betterment, especially in assimilating the new groups that 
were fast coming in. Standards were to be readjusted but an- 
cient traditions to be so respected that newcomers should adopt 
them for their own — if the land of Hooker were to be shared with 
them. They were welcomed and encouraged as home-builders, 
but the reason for Hartford's being Hartford must be made to 
appeal to them. If any place in America should impress them 
with what constitutes free government and how only it can be 
maintained, this one should. 

Local pride was cherished still more effectively and apprecia- 
tion of high standards was promoted by comradeship or, when 
called for, Good Samaritanism. Parks, transportation, local 
government, social affiliations, churches, schools, humanitarian 
endeavor, worked together, under the inspiration of men and 
women who were building well. 

A gratifying incident in 1891 was an exchange of courtesies 
with England's old Hertford itself. As earlier related, Hartford 
was Hertford's namesake. Hertford had been the home of Rev. 
Samuel Stone and he had attended church at the ancient St. An- 
drew's Hall Church. That church was now raising a fund for 
building St. Nicholas Hall in the parish. Rev. Dr. Walker of 
the Hooker and Stone church, the First Church, heard of it and 
secured a good contribution to send across the water, while local 
industries participated in the bazaar which was held. In his 
address at the formal exercises, United States Minister Robert 
Lincoln referred to Samuel Stone and his coming to America and 
said of Hartford that it was one of the most prosperous towns in 



the United States and was remarkable in this respect that its in- 
fluence was greater all over America than that of any town ten 
times its size. The old bond between the borough of Hertford 
and this! capital was formally renewed on this occasion and, as 
will be seen, was to be made still stronger in 1914. 

Hartford's influence in the nation, to which Mr. Lincoln had 
made reference, was being thrown on the side of greater stability 
and equanimity. 

The federal treasury was low and the action of the second 
Cleveland administration in selling government bonds to 
strengthen the gold reserve was causing the voice of the West to 
be heard in its first challenge to the will of the East. This the 
first cry, wafted across the Mississippi' from where Mr. Bryan 
was entering into politics, was for free coinage of silver. Here- 
abouts the need of better financial reurn for agricultural prod- 
ucts was bringing farmers together in more and stronger asso- 
ciations for studying the problems. There were the energetic 
State Grange with its branches in every farming town and the 
Dairymen's Association, and in 1891 the Farmers League held 
its first annual meeting at the Capitol with George F. Chapin of 
Enfield as secretary and H. H. Austin of Suffield, Hartford 
County's representative on the executive committee. Its purpose 
was to take a more radical position than that of the grange; the 
members demanded oleomargarine legislation, the transfer of 
federal fund from the scientific department of Yale to Storrs 
School and that senators be elected by electoral boards, as in the 
case of the President. The days of legislative panaceas for sun- 
dry ills were coming on, tramps were trudging the highways; 
Coxey's Army was forming for its march out of the West for 
Washington. But Thompsonville was being made a port of de- 
livery and, like most of the East, Hartford County was not losing- 
its industrial impetus. 

The free-coinage bogey — the ratio of 16 of silver to 1 of gold — 
was to be given battle power under Bryan at the democratic na- 
tional convention in 1896, but the spirit of New England was to 
be well exemplified on October 31 of that year when, under the 
marshalship of Gen. William B. Franklin with a staff made up 
of the foremost citizens, the streets of Hartford were filled with 
marching men from every shop, office and hillside, called forth by 
the ringing editorials of a united press, all without regard to 


political faith. The "Boy Orator of the Platte," with his "cross 
of gold" went down, and Maj. William McKinley came in as 
President. The county stood 24,489 for McKinley to 9,726 for 
Bryan — in a corresponding vote of 110,285 and 56,740 in the 
state. Hartford was to be represented in official Washington 
by John Addison Porter, editor of the Hartford Post, as private 
secretary to the President. 

Within the state Capitol during this decade the corrupt-prac- 
tice and anti-lobby laws were enacted, the first good-roads bill 
was passed, and registration, examination and licensing of doc- 
tors was made compulsory. The constitutional amendment to 
increase the number of senatorial districts from twenty-four to 
thirty-seven was defeated, but the seeds were sown for the con- 
stitutional convention of 1902. 

The Law and Order League, paid for by subscriptions and 
from a little income for detective work, under the secretaryship 
of S. P. Thrasher, was emphasizing the need of something more 
than local constabulary but was not in full approbation among 
those who felt that their power was not well established. The 
outcome, in 1899, was the formation of the state police, beginning 
with two officers and eight men, Thomas F. Egan as superin- 

When Luzon B. Morris of New Haven, who had been declared 
governor by the Senate but not by the court, had triumphed at 
the polls in 1892, the Hubbard Escort was in its full glory. It 
had been formed by Hartford democrats in the days of Governor 
Hubbard and long continued as a political and social organiza- 
tion. Its annual dinners brought together the leaders of the 
party in the state, and republicans as well as democrats listened 
(or read) with respect. Governor Morris was succeeded by 0. 
Vincent Coffin, republican, a Middletown banker, in 1895 and he 
by Lorrin A. Cook, of same faith, a Winsted manufacturer, in 
1897. All of these were men of sound financial judgment which 
perhaps was what was most needed in the changing times of the 
visionary and uncertain. Ernest Cady of Hartford held the 
office of lieutenant governor when Mr. Morris was chief execu- 
tive, and Joseph L. Barbour was speaker of the House in 1897. 

Speaker Barbour (1846-1915) had added to his prestige of 
wit and forensic skill by the phenomenal feat of carrying every 
ward in Hartford and with the largest plurality ever given. Born 


in Barkhamsted in 1846, he had made his way in the world. After 
finishing his studies at Williston Seminary, he taught school (in 
Meriden) and came to Hartford in 1867 as night editor of the 
Hartford Post, then owned by David Clark. When Isaac Brom- 
ley, later of New York Tribune fame, bought that paper and was 
the editor, Mr. Barbour was the associate editor, a pair of ex- 
ceptional humorists. Entering his brother's office in New 
Britain, he forsook the press for the bar in 1877, soon had run 
the clerkships of the Legislature and had been prosecutor in the 
police court. Of his stuttering he made a virtue; in his public 
speeches there was no trace of it and he everywhere was in de- 
mand. To prevent possible interruption of orderly thought in 
his office, he caused the chairs for his visitors to be fastened to 
the floor. 

The representative in Congress from this district in 1891 was 
William E. Simonds (1842-1903) who was born in Collinsville, 
of ancient English ancestry, and was graduated at the New 
Britain Normal School. In the Civil war he was a lietenant in 
the Twenty-fifth C. V., promoted for bravery. He made patent 
law his specialty after graduating at Yale Law School in 1865 
and in 1891 had become United States patent commissioner. Sev- 
eral of his books on patents were recognized as standard works. 
The one year he was a member of the Legislature he was speaker 
of the House. In Congress he aided in the passage of the first 
international copyright law. 

Mr. Simonds' successor in Congress was Lewis Sperry (1848- 
1922) who served two terms and refused to run again. Descend- 
ant of an agent of the Earl of Warwick and one of the New Haven 
colonists, his ancestors migrated to what is now East Windsor 
Hill, of which Mr. Sperry's beautiful farm home was one of the 
distinctive features. His class at Amherst was '73. He began 
his law practice in the office of Waldo, Hyde & Hubbard, and 
formed partnership with Lieutenant-Governor George G. Sill in 
1876. He was representative from South Windsor that year. 
When the office of county coroner was created in 1883 he was the 
first in the county to hold it and he continued in that capacity till 
elected to Congress. In the House he was one of the sixteen 
democrats who opposed the Wilson tariff bill — in which course he 
was applauded by the democratic Hartford Times. When he re- 
turned to his practice he formed partnership with George P. Mc- 


Lean, now United States senator, and Austin Brainard. In his 
later years he practiced alone and for many years was counsel 
for the Aetna Life and also for the bridge commission, of which 
he was a member. In the Constitutional Convention he played a 
prominent part and after the new draft had been rejected at the 
polls he made a codification of the 1818 Constitution, embracing 
all amendments. This in turn went through the regular course 
but was not accepted by the people. 

Of special interest in the politics of the time was the reelection 
of General Hawley as United States senator in 1899. The term 
"Old War Horse" applied well to this veteran of war and political 
campaigns. He had held high position in the Senate since he first 
appeared there in 1881. Connecticut was appreciative of the 
worth of long service in that body, but more than that, it loved 
the rugged, out-spoken man. He was a friend with everybody 
except those whose principles he mistrusted or who politically 
opposed him and his supporters. He was on in years but still a 
hard worker as his record in the recent war times had shown. At 
this session of the Legislature two candidates appeared in the 
field against him. One was former Governor Bulkeley, the other 
Samuel Fessenden of Stamford — a third veteran of the Civil war, 
a member of the Republican National Committee, speaker of the 
House in 1895, state's attorney and deservedly popular. It was 
he who orginated the phase, "God Almighty hates a quitter." 
Hawley was within one vote of winning on the first ballot. On 
the seventh, Bulkeley threw his strength to him and he was 
elected. Bulkeley's turn came six years later, just before the 
general's death. But much was to transpire before those days. 

The mayors of the century's final decade were: Henry C. 
Dwight, 1890, William Waldo Hyde, 1892, Leverett Brainard, 
1894, and Miles B. Preston, 1896 and 1898. Town and city gov- 
ernments were consolidated in 1895 and the city was extended to 
the town limits. Wires were ordered put under ground, sewage 
disposal and systems were being discussed everywhere, the first 
real building ordinance was passed and asphalt pavement was 
laid on Main Street, the completion of which was celebrated with 
a grand bicycle parade in October, 1896. In the high school, in 
1895 Principal Douglas' resignation was accepted and Edward 
H. Smiley was named to succeed him. 

Financially, banking institutions which from 1800 had been 


the backbone of local enterprise were changing to meet the new 
requirements, with never a thought, however, of the tremendous 
changes that were to be necessitated at the end of only one more 
generation. To particularize for 1891 : The Aetna National, 
1857, capital $525,000, A. G. Loomis president; the American 
National, 1852, $600,000, Rowland Swift president; the Charter 
Oak National, 1853, J. F. Morris president; the City Bank, 1851, 
$440,000, Gustavus F. Davis, president; the Connecticut River 
Banking Company, 1825, $250,000, Samuel E. Elmore, president; 
the Farmers and Mechanics, 1833, John G. Root president; the 
First National, 1857, $650,000, J. H. Knight president; the Hart- 
ford National, 1792, $1,200,000, James Bolter president; the 
Mercantile National, 1854, $500,000, James B. Powell president; 
the National Exchange, 1834, $500,000, John R. Redfield presi- 
dent; the Phoenix National, 1814, Henry R. Redfield president; 
the State Bank, 1849, $400,000, George F. Hills president; the 
United States Bank, 1872, $100,000, Henry L. Bunce president; 
the Connecticut Trust and Safe Deposit Company, 1871, M. H. 
Whaples president; the Hartford Trust Company, 1868, $300,- 
000, Ralph W. Cutler president; the Fidelity Company, $50,000, 
Edmund A. Stedman president; the Security Company, $200,000, 
Robert E. Day president; the Loan and Guaranty Company, 
$100,000, William L. Matson president; and the savings banks — 
the Hartford Dime, 1870, Alfred E. Burr president; Mechanics, 
1861, Ward W. Jacobs president; Society for Savings, 1819, John 
C. Parsons president, and the State, 1858, Gustavus F. Davis 
president. The total of savings banks deposits was $21,250,000. 
The Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad Company was 
being encouraged by the producers of electricity (the Hartford 
Electric Light and Power Company and the Hartford Electric 
Light Company were consolidated under the latter name in 1896) 
to try trolleys, success of which was being attested in one or two 
other communities. In 1892 trolleys were actually running from 
the car barns on Wethersfield Avenue to Wethersfield and the 
plan was put through for electrification of a line from East Hart- 
ford Church to Glastonbury. The people celebrated, yet some 
felt that the wires were a source of great peril. And most in- 
auspiciously, the end of a broken wire in the street near the 
church caused the death of one man through delay in getting the 
power turned off. The privilege of running even horse cars 


across the Connecticut River bridge was long a subject of heated 
discussion but was finally granted while the temporary structure 
was in use. Thus one could ride from City Hall to Glastonbury 
in an hour for 15 cents. The company finally built its own power 
house, below State Street, and has maintained it till 1928. 

It was not long before Hartford was the center of a network 
of trolley lines with two lines to Springfield. Most of these were 
separate and independent lines and merchants in Hartford found 
their business increasing fifty-fold. By what was known as the 
"Tucker grant," the Hartford company had to pay into the city 
treasury 2 per cent of its income perpetually for the privilege 
of using the streets, in addition to maintaining the pavement 
between rails, refusal to comply with which agreement recently 
caused litigation and a victory for the city in the Supreme Court. 
The stock of most of the companies was quoted at high figures at 
the time New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad, during the 
administration of President Mellon, acquired the main part of 
them in common with the other lines around the state, and they 
became the Connecticut Company. Today the management is 
in the hands of federal trustees appointed at the time when the 
widely consolidated interests of the railroad were un-consolidated 
by action of the government. The service now is supplemented 
and widened by electric buses. 

In connection with the main points already told, there were 
many incidents, throughout the '90s and later, in the problem of 
the bridge. One notable one was in 1892 when a man named 
Dupre built a sloop above the bridge and demanded the opening 
of the draw which then was out of order and was closed, looking 
to the building of a new draw and hopefully of a new bridge. 
The incident was seized upon to open up the whole subject of up- 
river navigation. The government sent Col. D. C. Houston to 
hold a hearing. People to the north argued strongly that future 
possibilities should not be cut off by a drawless structure, and in 
this the street board, the bridge commission itself, Mayor Dwight 
and the Board of Trade were in accord with them. Of course 
that must mean a new bridge for the old one was too feeble to 
endure the strain of operating a draw. Its capacity was only 
eight tons; fifteen years previously a load of stone had broken 
through; streets cars were now passing over it, and altogether 
there was cause for alarm. The government's attitude was that 


there should be a draw, even though few sloops should come that 
way ; but this certainly implied a stronger structure. Mr. Dupre 
and his boat were instrumental in arousing sentiment and in pre- 
paring the public mind for what must come. The bridge was 
officially condemned in 1894. 

Neither for newcomer nor for posterity can one convey a 
worthy impression of the chief events or institutions of his com- 
munity by taking them out of their settings. Nor yet may the 
full value of changes and developments from time to time be 
apparent without the background of other local activities. A 
bundle of twigs or a bunch of tulips tied tightly together sacrifice 
rather than conserve the fine in nature ; there must be suggestion 
of the marvel and beauty of growth. 

So with the parks which have brought Hartford so much of 
her fame. They began with the old South Green, a commons 
from earliest times. Village Street Green was designated in 
1834, one-sixth of an acre of comely trees. The story of the 
evolution of Bushnell Park from a railroad scrap-yard in the '50s 
is enjoyed most by those who search out the contemporaneous 
life of the city, as has been given in these pages. 

And now was to come a remarkable fulfilment of visions long 
entertained by the more thoughtful citizens — now, in the '90s, 
and like the Atheneum improvements and the philanthropic in- 
stitutions, out of a community beginning to throb with industry 
and also with what industry was bringing, by way of population, 
by way of getting about and by way of income. One senses the 
need and likewise the joy of fulfilment only by noting the preced- 
ing and subsequent content. 

Because of the rush of events it sometimes is forgotten that 
in 1891 the park commissioners were perfecting a plan for a 
chain of parks around the city — one at the south end, one on the 
north branch of Park River, and one in the north part. They 
estimated the cost of from 250 to 500 acres would be about $500,- 
000 and prophesied that the worth to the city would be at least 
$5,000,000. Arguments were about to be made unnecessary. 

Much of the credit for the remarkable park era of the '90s is 
due to the Board of Trade which, as has been noted, was organized 
in 1888. It had not magnified industrial and commercial de- 


1 £ 


■ -x 




velopment to the forgetfulness or detriment of aesthetics and 
whatever might tend toward the betterment of Hartford as a city 
to live in. High valuation was placed upon the city's natural 
assets and upon reminders of the historic and literary past. The 
members of the board were representative of that large body of 
citizens who, for another thing, took pride in the reputation that 
Hartford stood pre-eminent for its fine and carefully kept lawns. 
To bring their organization more efficiency under the law, they 
incorporated in 1893. At that very time — and perhaps with the 
co-ordination of his close friend Henry C. Robinson — Charles M. 
Pond was being impelled to confer with just such an organization. 

Mr. Pond (1837-1895) was a son of President Charles F. 
Pond of the New York, New Haven & Hartford road and grand- 
son of Caleb Pond, once one of Hartford's well known financiers. 
He himself was treasurer of the road for several years and in 
1870 was treasurer of the state. He had served as representa- 
tive and senator and he had organized the Hartford Trust Com- 
pany. He had married Elizabeth Aldrich of New York, his own 
birthplace. During her lifetime their home had been the sightly 
and beautiful Prospect Hill farm, the acres running well back 
from Prospect Avenue, on the high land west of the city, into 
West Hartford. This estate had been willed to him by his father. 
Soon after the incorporation of the Board of Trade, Mr. Pond 
wrote to President J. M. Allen on the subject of more parks and 
his plan to give the city his own land of ninety acres, to bear the 
name of his wife. Terms of a will were drawn up in conferences 
with Rev. Francis Goodwin, Leverett Brainard, Judson H. Root, 
Henry C. Robinson, Charles E. Gross, Frederick S. Brown and 
J. B. Bunce who were the board's Committee on Public Affairs. 
Mr. Pond died August 30, 1894. Relatives contested the will but 
a compromise was effected by which the city received the land 
and in addition $105,000 to make it what it is — one of the most 
beautiful parks in the country and with a rose garden which na- 
tional committees of floriculturists have several times declared 
ranked first. 

It was after reading Mr. Pond's will that Colonel Pope con- 
ferred with his counsel, Mr. Gross, concerning another large park, 
saying that "much of the success of any manufacturing business 
depends upon the health, happiness and orderly life of its em- 
ployees and in a like manner a city thrives best by caring and 


providing for the wellbeing of its citizens." As has been said, 
the colonel was then acquiring the Weed plant which had been 
making his bicycles under contract and, with eye to the future, 
had bought much other open land, including the Bartholomew 
farm south of Park Street and near its junction with Laurel 
Street. This farm he would give to the city, but in order that 
his employees on Capitol Avenue might get the full benefit, he 
would make a condition that the city add the land along the south 
and east side of Park River from the farm to Capitol Avenue, 
where the Pope memorial fountain now stands. That land was 
then an adjunct of the property of the Watkinson Juvenile Asy- 
lum and Farm School, of which Rev. Francis Goodwin was presi- 
dent ; of the Hartford Orphan Asylum and of the Hartford Real 
Estate Improvement Company of which J. L. Howard was presi- 
dent. Members of the Board of Trade were in consultation, the 
proposition was given to Mayor Leverett Brainard and the city 

But this could not be brought about until the park board was 
reorganized. It was then under the control of the city govern- 
ment with no independent power. An amendment to the city 
charter was secured by which the board obtained more freedom 
of action and, with the mayor as a member ex-officio, self-perpet- 
uating. For the most part the new members were the same as 
the old; they were Francis Goodwin, Sherman W. Adams, Gur- 
don W. Russell, Rev. Edwin Pond Parker, Rev. William DeLoss 
Love and Herman T. Hull. 

On the day the Board of Trade held its special meeting to 
arrange for the charter amendment, Mrs. Elizabeth H. Colt, 
widow of Colonel Colt, expressed to her counsel, Mr. Gross, her 
desire to aid the board in its work for parks which eventuated in 
her providing in her will that the city should have all her land 
from Wethersfield Avenue to the Connecticut River excepting one 
piece which had been sold by one of her agents and which the city 
obtained by purchase. The Colt residence, Armsmear, was re- 
served as a home for the widows of Episcopal clergymen and 
others. The gift, which was formally presented to the city in 
1916, after Mrs. Colt's death, included the statue of Colonel Colt 
near the lake, the other valuable statuary and the gardens. Many 
tennis courts and baseball diamonds, a skating rink and pavilion 




and other features have been provided so that it is one of the 
chief recreation resorts in the city. 

On the eve of the announcement of the gift of Elizabeth Park 
and just after Colonel Pope's gift, the public learned that in his 
will Henry Keney had provided for one of the largest parks in 
New England. Henry Keney (1806-1894) was the son of Joseph 
Keney who came to Hartford and set up a grocery store near the 
present corner of Main Street and Ely Street, in which business 
Henry succeeded him with Alva Gilman as his first partner. In 
1830 his brother Walter (1808-1889) succeeded Mr. Gilman and 
the one sign, H. & W. Keney, remained over the door till Henry's 
death, which marked the end of the oldest mercantile establish- 
ment in the state. At different times, Ebenezer Roberts and 
J. N. Goodwin were in the firm, and after Walter's death, William 
Tucker and H. H. Roberts when the firm name was Keney, Rob- 
erts & Co. Henry was vice president of the Hartford Fire Insur- 
ance Company in 1885, and also of the Farmers and Mechanics 
National Bank and of the Hartford Carpet Company. His invest- 
ment of $216 in the Hartford Fire in 1841 was worth over $80,- 
000 in 1891 and cash dividends had been $125,000. 

The will gave large sums to Trinity College and to all the lead- 
ing charitable and philanthropic institutions of Hartford, with 
the residuum for the purchase of a park in the north part of the 
city. A large piece of finest woodland extending to the Windsor 
town line and known as the ' 'Ten-Mile Woods" was bought, to- 
gether with pasture-land, a total of 673 acres, and turned into a 
driving or country park. The committee of the Board of Trade 
designated to devise the park system consisted of Rev. Francis 
Goodwin, H. C. Robinson and Charles E. Gross. Mr. Keney also 
gave the old homestead with the direction that the trustees should 
erect a suitable memorial to the mercantile business so long con- 
ducted there — according to the reading of the will. A stately 
clock tower was erected, surrounded by an acre of park. 

The dream of a great circle of parks, accessible to people of 
every section of the city, had been almost realized within a short 
period. To help in its completion and especially to place some- 
thing near the more congested part of the city, the park board 
bought land along the river north of the great bridge and estab- 
lished Riverside Park. It is where the Indian village was when 

37— VOL. 1 


the settlers came and covers part of the "Soldiers Field" given to 
the men who went out for the Pequot war. 

Then in 1901 the last possible link was added, by purchase, 
when the whole of two miles of meadowland and the slope from 
Wethersfield and Maple avenues, in the southern part of the city, 
was taken for Goodwin Park. Here are some of the finest elms 
in the Connecticut valley, great groves of trees, lakes and a public 
golf course as also at Keney Park today. Despite his protests, 
the board named the park after its president. 

Rev. Francis Goodwin (1839-1923) was a son of Major James 
Goodwin. After beginning in the drygoods business, the memo- 
ries of his mother's teachings caused him to enter Berkeley Divin- 
ity School where he was graduated in 1863. He had served as 
rector of Holy Trinity Church of Middletown, in charge of Trin- 
ity Church in Wethersfield and as rector of the Church of the 
Good Shepherd in Hartford when in 1878 he was chosen first 
archdeacon of Hartford. This position he held till 1888 when 
he resigned to join with J. J. Goodwin in the administration of 
his father's estate. This involved the care of a large amount of 
real estate, some of it undeveloped, and thereby brought him a 
fuller appreciation of the possibilities in beautifying the city. 
His work for the Atheneum, of which he was president, has been 
noted ; he also was a trustee of the Watkinson Reference Library 
and president of the Watkinson Farm School, and had been a 
member of the park board since 1881. He was the father of 
William B., Charles A. and Rev. James Goodwin. 

Besides the major parks which have now been described, the 
city is dotted with smaller parks and playgrounds. To mention 
the more prominent: Franklin Green, at the junction of Frank- 
lin and Maple avenues, was laid out in 1876. Rocky Ridge Park, 
twenty-eight acres, is along the crest of the old trap-rock quarry, 
near Trinity College, with a sweeping western view and furnish- 
ing opportunity to study glacier-scarred rocks. Lafayette 
Square is at the junction of Washington, Lafayette and Bucking- 
ham streets; on it is a statue of Columbus, given by the Italian- 
American citizens who now are desirous of having the name 
changed to Columbus Square while others would retain the name 
Lafayette, have the Columbus statue moved and a reproduction 
placed there of the equestrian statue of Lafayette, made from the 
model which the famous sculptor, Paul Bartlett, gave to Connec- 


ticut, his native state, after he had completed the statue given by 
American school children to be set up in Paris. Tunnel Park is 
some more than half an acre at the junction of Main Street and 
Albany and Windsor avenues, under which run the main tracks 
of the New York, New Haven & Hartford road which leased the 
property to the city for a nominal sum, beginning in 1874. 

Campfield Memorial Grounds will increase in historic interest 
as time goes on. Since it was dedicated in 1900 it has been 
visited by thousands of veterans for the last time but in future 
generations thousands of newcomers will visit it and will recall 
the story of Connecticut's share in the Civil war. At Webster 
and Adelaide streets, on the ridge overlooking the Connecticut 
valley, it marks the field where in earlier times the militia regi- 
ments held their encampments and where, in the '60s, seven of 
the Connecticut regiments were assembled and prepared to go to 
the front. The details of those unforgetable days are given in 
this history's section on the Civil war. In 1893 the Legislature 
appropriated $1,000 to save a part of the famous field and also 
an appropriation to each regiment that would erect a memorial on 
any battlefield where it had fought. Subsequently it was agreed 
that, for the regiments so desiring, the appropriations should be 
given for a memorial in Connecticut, and it seemed fitting that 
the regiments that assembled here make a memorial common to 
all. Uniting as the Campfield Monument Association, the vet- 
erans responded generously to the call. John C. Barker, the 
owner, gave this portion of his property, through General Gilman. 
It was decided to erect thereon the bronze statue of Gen. Grif- 
fin A. Stedman, a Hartford man of Revolutionary ancestry who 
began as a lieutenant and was brigadier-general on the day he 
fell in 1864. The statue is the work of Frederick Moynihan of 
New York, the pedestal by Stephen Maslen of Hartford. The 
city gave the park-like effect to the grounds. In 1923 a tablet 
was placed here in memory of Maj. Thomas McManus of the 
Twenty-fifth, C. V., who was active in securing this memorial. 

Sigourney Park Square, originally a part of the town farm 
and lying between Ashley, Sigourney, Sargeant and May streets, 
was declared a public square in 1895. 

The Washington Street Triangle was laid out in 1900 at the 
junction of Retreat Avenue and Washington and Vernon streets. 
Charter Oak Memorial is a gift from the Society of Colonial 


Wars, in 1906, near the spot where the famous Charter Oak 
stood, at the junction of Charter Oak Avenue and Charter Oak 
Place, marked by a granite monument. Mrs. Augusta C. Pease, 
widow of Zena Pease, presented the land to the society, through 
its president, James J. Goodwin. Among the numerous play- 
grounds are the Harbison, given in 1913 by John P. Harbison, 
opposite Ward Place, and the George H. Day, given by the Boule- 
vard Park Company in 1917 and named by the Park Board in 
honor of one who was much interested in playgrounds. The 
Windsor Street playground is the latest addition to the list. 

The total official valution of parks and playgrounds in 1927 
was $7,088,000, Keney Park leading with $2,500,000 for the 
land and $25,000 for the buildings. In the '90s when four great 
gifts came so closely together, one could hear in some quarters 
the remark that the taking of so much property from the tax 
list and, in any instance, the imposing of the cost of maintenance 
would put a burden on the city that would be excessive if not un- 
warrantable. It is estimated today that the increased valuation 
of property in the vicinity of the parks themselves has covered 
the difference in taxes several times over and that the institutions 
have yielded profit beyond computation. Nevertheless, the time 
has come again when suggestion of other parks or memorials is 
met by an argument that money should go for the materially 
practical and for necessities. 

As the city was fortunate in having the advice of the eminent 
landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, when Bushnell Park 
was laid out, so also it was fortunate again in having the services 
of Theodore Wirth when it acquired Elizabeth Park, and again 
when George A. Parker came here to be superintendent at what 
time Keney Park was being prepared, and subsequently to be 
superintendent of all parks till his recent death. Mr. Parker, 
who was exemplary in all lines of citizenship, was born in Fitz- 
william, New Hampshire, in 1853 and had had much experience 
on private grounds and public estates before being called here. 

Under wise management, the parks were being beautified by 
other gifts. In 1897 John J. Corning of New York gave the fine 
Corning fountain which was placed by the park board in Bushnell 
Park in such position as to heighten the effect of the Capitol itself 
as viewed from Asylum Street near the railroad station by those 
coming into the city by train. The work, commemorative of the 


Indians in the days when Hartford was settled, is one of the best 
examples of the genius and skill of J. Massey Rhind. Around 
the thirty-six-foot lower basin, he placed warriors and hunters, in 
bronze, and around the upper basins graceful Indian maidens, 
topping the whole, at a height of thirty feet, with a noble hart 
crossing a ford. The fountain is set in a mass of flower beds. 
The name Corning goes well back into the history of Hartford. 
In the First Church there is a memorial window in honor of three 
deacons by that name, in successive generations beginning with 
Ezra Corning. John B., the father of the donor of the fountain, 
was the son of Deacon George and was himself a member of the 
South Church and instrumental in forming the Pearl Street 
Church, now the Immanuel Congregational Church of Farming- 
ton Avenue. At one time he was in the drygoods business here. 
Interesting himself in real estate he became the owner of much 
valuable property on the south side of Asylum Street. Both of 
his sons, John J., who was a banker and broker in New York, and 
Frederick E., who lived in London, were born in the house still 
standing on Pearl Street. Mr. Corning died in 1896. 

The figurehead of Admiral Farragut's flagship Hartford was 
given to the city through Commander Philip Hichborn, chief con- 
structor of the navy, and was placed in the Capitol with fitting 
ceremony including a parade of which the navy veteran Francis 
B. Allen was marshal. Also Dahlgren guns from the Hartford, 
procured through Senator Hawley, were mounted on the terrace 
in front of the Capitol. The old commons at the south end of 
Main Street, long known as South Green and once the favorite 
place for circuses, was given the name of Barnard Park in honor 
of the great educator whose home was across the street. 

The city water system withal, delighting with its supply of 
pure water, not only was kept free from possible contamination 
by the purchase of surrounding territory but was made to vie 
with the parks in beauty. To this feature of the park board's 
work Ezra Clark (1819-1896) gave much of his thought and 
energy. President of the board in 1854 and from 1882 till his 
death, it was during his time that the chief part of the building 
of the works was done and he planned the park-like effects. He 
saw the completion of No. 6 reservoir and promoted the petition 
for the right to take in Salmon Brook in Granby which was 


granted by the Legislature in 1897. In business Mr. Clark was 
a member of the successive iron and steel firms of Watkinson & 
Co., Clark, Gill & Co., and Ezra Clark & Co., was president of 
the National Screw Company and held many positions of trust. 
He was the father of Charles Hopkins Clark, long the editor of 
the Courant. 

One vile spot in the very heart of historic Hartford had come 
now to appear to all to be a burning disgrace. It was Gold Street, 
formerly known as Nichols Lane. Gold Street extends for a 
mere half block from Main Street at the corner by the Center 
(First) Congregational Church to Lewis and Wells streets to the 
west, on the bank of Park River, the eastern boundary of Bush- 
nell Park, and connecting with Jewell Street for direct route to 
the railroad station. The disreputable buildings along the north 
side, crowded with a shiftless sort of humanity and allowing only 
from fifteen to thirty feet for roadway, backed against a rude 
wall marking the southern line of the ancient cemetery where 
sleep Hooker, Haynes, Stone and others of the first settlers whose 
names are familiar in American history, — in the rear of the 
beautiful edifice of the church they founded. As elsewhere de- 
scribed, it was the second of the settlement's burying grounds and 
the only one till 1800 ; no interments had been made there since 
1846; shut in as it was, it seldom was visited and the old stones 
were in disarray. On clotheslines over the cemetery waved the 
variegated "washings" of the denizens of the rookeries. 

That the conditions were intolerable it required but a few- 
words from the pastor of the church, Rev. Dr. Walker, to reveal. 
Mayor Brainard called the matter to the attention of the Common 
Council in his annual message. Ruth Wyllys Chapter of the 
Daughters of the Revolution, under the leadership of Mrs. John 
M. Holcombe, gave the citizens an opportunity to assist, and the 
Herculean task of cleaning up was accomplished by 1900 when 
the restored grounds were placed in charge of the park board. 
The street was widened to the church line, the cemetery and its 
stones were made to bear evidence of care and respect, the wall 
was replaced with a handsome iron fence with an appropriate 
gateway given by two descendants of Governor John Haynes, and 
a bronze tablet was placed near it by the D. A. R. in commemora- 
tion of what Emily Seymour Goodwin Holcombe had done. The 



Here lie the remains of founders of the Connecticut Colony and framers of the world's 

first written constitution 


city government decreed that there should be no more burials 
there except of Mr. and Mrs. Holcombe. 

Today the grounds are adjoined by the beautiful "Center 
Church House of the First Church of Christ," given in 1908 in 
memory of Francis B. Cooley by his family, Mrs. Cooley, Francis 
R. Cooley, Sarah Cooley Hall, Charles P. Cooley and Clara Cooley 
Jacobus — one of the most useful institutions in the city — and al- 
together it is impossible for modern Hartford to conceive what 
the surroundings once were. 

Out-door recreation was becoming more general, for both 
sexes. Bicycle clubs were formed not only for racing but for 
trips into the country, hitherto so far away. And golf was tak- 
ing a strong hold. The Hartford Golf Club was started in 1896 
with a made-over barn on Kenyon Street for a clubhouse and the 
eastern part of Elizabeth Park for part of the links. The sur- 
veyor's rod already was busy there and the club pushed westward 
to its present location on the hill north of the park. When its 
fine new building was burned it rebuilt on a still more comprehen- 
sive scale in 1909. Today it is again feeling the march of resi- 
dential progress and extends its grounds farther to the north and 
west. Distance was being rapidly eliminated as a factor in 1899, 
when automobiles were coming on in greater numbers, and one 
of Farmington's stately mansions was made over into clubhouse 
of colonial design for the Country Club, with hills and meadows 
for the golf links. 

Looking into the future — with faith — the Twentieth Century 
Club was organized in 1892. Its purpose was somewhat sugges- 
tive of that of the old lyceums. Not from the platform in a 
cheerless hall but at the dinner table in a well-lighted room speak- 
ers from abroad as well as from home delivered not lectures but 
talks on the glowing topics of the hour. As it began, so it has 
continued, with increasing strength. 

Down by the river, the surprisingly few who appreciated the 
boating possibilities which Hartford still does not value at their 
full worth — this Rhine-like river opening the way and inviting on 
to the superb Long Island Sound and all New England's coast — 
the surprisingly few were establishing the Hartford Yacht Club 
which later was to have its attractive clubhouse across the river 
instead of near a coal dock where the original one was. The 


Canoe Club was not long in following. Till a fire dismantled it 
the yachtsmen also maintained a house near the river-mouth, at 
Fenwick. Caldwell Colt's famous yacht Dauntless lay off 
Essex, the elm-shaded hamlet as quaint today as when the British 
burned its shipping in the War of 1812. The boat was the scene 
of many boatsmen's parties and eventually gave its name to the 
club of Hartford and other men who made one of the choicest and 
most historic old houses, close by the riverside, their own. 

Something besides a clubhouse was dedicated on staid old 
Prospect Street — the "Ministers' Lane" of Hooker's day and un- 
til these '90s the place of residence for several of the leaders in 
Hartford history. The dignified home of Mrs. Edward Perkins, 
who was building on Forest Street, had given place to the digni- 
fied Hunt Memorial, to be one of what now is "Club Row" — the 
Hartford Club, the Hunt Memorial, the Elks, the Knights of Co- 
lumbus. The dedication was also the observance of the fiftieth 
anniversary of the Hartford Medical Society which was conceived 
in 1846 but not organized till later. One of the founders of 
the society was the greatly revered Dr. Ebenezer K. Hunt. His 
widow left to the society $20,000 to realize her husband's ideal 
when in 1889, after the society had been chartered, a building- 
fund was started. The gift was conditional on the society's pro- 
viding a site. It was provided with zest. George G. Williams 
and his wife, Jeanette Hunt Williams, contributed $20,000. The 
address of the occasion was delivered by President D. C. Gilman 
of Johns Hopkins, that institution which was the first in America 
to depart from the beaten path of the classics and introduce labor- 
atories. In his address he spoke of Hartford's distinction "for 
its sagacious instruction of the deaf and dumb, for its wise treat- 
ment of the insane, for its discovery of anesthesia, for its excel- 
lent hospital, for its advocacy of sound legislation and wise sani- 
tary regulations." In 1912 the club built a library addition. 

A number of patriotic, fraternal and social organizations had 
their inception in this decade. Prominent among them were 
Ruth Wyllys Chapter, D. A. R., in 1892; Martha Pitkin Wolcott 
Chapter in East Hartford in 1898; the Republican Club in 1894; 
the Society of Mayflower Descendants in 1896; the Society of the 
War of 1812 in the same year; the Woman's Club in 1896; the 
Young Italian American Association, courts of the Foresters of 


Formerly the residence of Theodore Lyman, Woodland Street 


Left to right: Hartford Club portico (faintly); Hunt Memorial (Hartford Medical 
Society); Elks; and Knights of Columbus 


America and of the Independent Order of Foresters, Olympia 
Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America and others. 

Altogether, approach to the close of the century was marked 
by peaceful, happy increase of wealth and population. Certain 
high financing here as elsewhere, which our story has led us to 
anticipate somewhat in one line of industry, had not begun to 
have effect. Throughout the country districts fields were smiling 
with good harvests — barring an occasional drought year — and 
farmers in organization were studying to meet more effectively 
the fast growing demands occasioned by the rapid increase of 
their closest markets, the industrial cities of the state. In com- 
mon with the nation as a whole, industry had felt the benefit of a 
protective tariff so strong that at this moment the wiser states- 
men were discussing the plan of reciprocity with certain other 
more advanced nations. In retrospect one sees that at no period 
was there more evidence of the benefit of long-continued peace; 
the war cloud on the horizon was noticed by none of the busy 

Socially, there was — looking back upon it — a rather humorous 
breaking of old traditions, a possibly awkward adaptation to new 
conditions, but beneath all that, a warmth of heart and hospitality. 
In the merry circle of "all hands round" — as the "prompter" of 
the older days would "call off" at the country dances — it was 
necessary, as it were, to drop the hand of the next one "on the 
right" long enough to let in a new arrival. This could not be 
done in New England without a moment of cool surprise, but 
forthwith the enlarging circle swung on as merrily as before. 
Social oddities there were, as in each generation since the days 
of the exclusive tavern balls. The ancient but ever up-to-date 
Courant appointed a society reporter, whose name was known 
only in the innermost sanctum, to furnish a column each week. 
"Pendennis" — for that was the name under the Thackeranian 
paragraphs — was lamenting that there was "abroad in this other- 
wise courageous town a dread and fear in regard to giving din- 
ners." And : "Our present methods of entertaining in public halls 
is attended with considerable embarassment from the fact that 
matrons do not matronize and patronesses do not patronize." 
The chaperones went about the hall, having good times by them- 
selves to the neglect of their proteges. 

Dancing parties called "germans" — copy-readers never knew 


whether to capitalize the word — were long the vogue, where first 
the ladies and, next dance, the men took "favors" from the table 
and using them as a symbol of faith went along the room-sides, 
each selecting his or her companion for that particular waltz or 
schottisch. As soon slap both man and lady in the face as "cut 
in" on a dancing couple at any dance. Amateur theatricals, as 
reported in the press, brought in large sums for charity. Women's 
big hats in the theater were a constant target for "Pendennis," 
safe in his (or her) disguise. Then in April, 1898, said "Pen- 
dennis" of a "sound of revelry" as incongruous as that before 
Waterloo described by Byron: "Very rarely are there crowded 
together so many entertainments as have been given and are to 
be given last week and this for local charities and enterprise. It 
is somewhat bewildering to the public-spirited person who wishes 
to patronize everything. The flurry will pass by, however, and 
we may be sure that everything is good and deserves attention." 

In church architecture, graceful spires of colonial days were 
giving place to Gothic towers, indicative of a medieval influence. 
One that was pleasingly suggestive of Old World design was the 
rebuilt and enlarged brown-stone edifice of the popular Trinity 
Episcopal parish on Sigourney Street, consecrated in 1899, six 
years after Rev. Ernest DeF. Miel had come as rector. From 
the organization in 1859, a devoted membership had given con- 
stant evidence of its respect and love for the church and it had 
been blessed with generous support. Increasingly necessity has 
always meant added beauty, as exemplified by the rectory and 
the chapel and parish house, memorial to Lucy Morgan Goodwin. 
Chimes were later placed in the tower. 

The Pearl Street Congregational Church, feeling the pressure 
of business in the center, sold to the Connecticut Mutual Life 
Insurance Company its edifice built in 1852, removed to the cor- 
ner of Farmington Avenue and Woodland Street and there in 
1899 dedicated a new home which took the name of Farmington 
Avenue Congregational Church. This was during the pastorate 
of Rev. William DeLoss Love. The Park Congregational ( Doctor 
Burton's) sold its edifice at the corner of Asylum and High 
streets, where the large Capitol office building now stands, and 
the two congregations were united in 1914, as the Immanuel 
Church, under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Charles F. Carter. 

In 1894 another name was added to the list of distinguished 




clergymen. Doctor Walker felt compelled at last to yield to the 
weakness of flesh and was made pastor emeritus, but his activities 
were only intermittently diminished and his pen was not idle. 
To assume the duties relinquished, Rev. Charles M. Lamson was 
called. Doctor Lamson (1843-1899) on his mother's side was a 
descendant of Capt. Aaron Cook who was prominent in Windsor's 
early history. Educated at Williston Seminary, an instructor 
at Amherst and a student of theology at Halle in Germany, he 
had been pastor in Brockton, Worcester and St. Johnsbury, and 
already was prominent among the New England clergy. Amherst 
gave him the degree of doctor of divinity. His peculiar qualities 
were well demonstrated when he was chosen to be head of the 
American Board of Foreign Missions. For a considerable time 
the board had been torn by party strife and the outlook was dark. 
Doctor Lamson's conservatism appealed to one party and his 
broad sympathies to the other with the result that lasting peace 
was restored and his name was revered. His years here were 
too brief for him to make the deep impression on the community 
altogether which most of his predecessors had made, but the 
devotion of his parish was well expressed in the memorial services 
at his death. 

Among the people of foreign extraction the church interest 
that was marked in the '80s was continued. The Danish Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1891; the German 
Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in 1892 ; the German Evan- 
gelical Lutherans and the missionaries of LaSallette were organ- 
izing at the same time ; the Roman Catholic Church of the Immac- 
ulate Conception was begun 1894, and also the Danish-Norwegian 
Congregational; the Rumanian Synagogue was built on Market 
Street; in 1898 the Italian Catholic and the following year the 
Swedish Methodist Emanuel began their edifices. 

38— VOL. 1 




For the average man who dwelt in Hartford in the '90s there 
is not much either in personal recollection or in compilation of 
activities to make him appreciate that the country as a whole was 
experiencing a tremor which many thought would disturb the 
very foundations. The purchasing power of the dollar was 
decreasing, the cry of the far West was growing louder, section- 
alism was more apparent and there were actual grounds for grave 
apprehension felt elsewhere. Our local history for this period 
loses much of its force if, by narration of sundry details, it does 
not show the existence of a firm faith — not worked up for the 
occasion but as a kind of inheritance, — a kind of inheritance which 
newcomers were accepting for their own. Religion was a holding 
power. Discouragements there had to be in individual churches 
and sects, but a review of the entirety from the present point of 
vantage reveals the actual progress. 

The leaders in the Roman Catholic diocese sought everywhere 
the best for their followers ; nothing was too good for them. Men 
who had been laborers, and especially the children of the earlier 
comers, had profited by the privileges and advantages this country 
offered. The mass of them had been thrifty and sober-minded. 
Their places in manual labor were now being filled by new immi- 
gration and from different countries. Every year it was more 
possible for the leaders to plan advancement in keeping with the 
spirit of the whole community. The growing cathedral on Farm- 
ington Avenue and the planting of a hospital were marks of 

The consecration of St. Joseph's Cathedral, in the town of 
Thomas Hooker, had a significance not fully appreciated by thou- 
sands from all parts of the state who thronged the completed 





splendid structure on May 8, 1892, nor by the other thousands of 
on-lookers. It was a significance to be comprehended only by con- 
templation of history since the June day in 1636 when Hooker 
emerged upon the banks of the river out of the wilderness. The 
steps of progress since Bishop McFarland conceived the idea and 
in 1872 bought part of the old Morgan property as a site for 
cathedral, episcopal residence and convent and since his successor, 
Father Galberry, broke ground in 1876 and the basement was 
dedicated in 1878, have been noted. The building had been pub- 
licly opened on the return of Bishop McMahon (1835-1893) from 
Europe in November, 1891. This was the bishop who, born in 
New Brunswick, educated in Rome and with a record of chaplain 
service in the war, had been appointed vicar-general by Bishop 
Hendrickson when Providence became a separate see in 1870, 
and he received the degree of D. D. from Rome. After service at 
New Bedford, Mass., he had been chosen for the see at Hartford 
to succeed Bishop Galberry and had been consecrated in 1879. 
The cathedral had been his first work, but while putting it through 
he had organized forty-eight new parishes, dedicated seventy new 
churches and established sixteen convents and sixteen schools. 
The cathedral, built by plans from P. C. Keeley of Brooklyn, 
N. Y., was erected largely by the sacrifice of his own income and 
the voluntary contributions from all parts of the diocese. These 
consecration services in themselves, attended by distinguished 
clergy from various places and by a multitude of people, were 
most imposing. Spires were to be built above the massive towers 
but at the time for them, tests made of the underlying stratum 
of ground forbade. The chimes were installed in 1914. 

Three years later the Roman Catholic Church of the Immacu- 
late Conception, on the corner of Park and Hungerford streets, 
was dedicated, today one of the largest churches in the city. 

The times called for another hospital. Busy industry and 
swifter transportation were claiming their victims ; typhoid, diph- 
theria (especially in Parkville, the southwestern suburb out 
beyond Glenwood which the new factories were giving strength 
to) and other ills which were to find their masters in the next 
generation were working havoc seemingly to be perpetual. The 
Ladies of Charity, encouraged by Bishop Tierney, inaugurated a 
hospital campaign, a location was secured on Woodland Street 
and in 1897 St. Francis Hospital was opened under the charge 


of the Sisters of St. Joseph with Sister A. Valencia superin- 
tendent. Five months later, in the first annual report, Dr. John 
O'Flaherty, president of the medical staff, which included some 
of the foremost physicians of the city, said: "The wisdom and 
need of such an institution I think is established beyond any 
question of doubt, from the loyal support and endorsement it has 
received from the majority of the profession in our city and from 
those in surrounding towns in the county, and as it is not intended 
to interfere in any particular way with the work of the older hos- 
pital, but is supplying a long felt void in our city, I feel assured 
that it will grow in favor and receive the support and endorse- 
ment of the profession at large, and the approval of the vast 
majority of the best people of our city and state." Doctor O'Fla- 
herty had the evidence of this before his death in 1904. The hos- 
pital was incorporated in 1899 and the Training School for 
Nurses was started. By 1900 another building was ready for 
use, in 1901 it was included among the hospitals entitled to receive 
state appropriation and in 1906 a new building was completed, 
increasing the accommodations from the original thirty patients 
to 120 and with a number of private rooms. 

Inspired by the bishop, and after his death in 1908 by Bishop 
Nilan, ably seconded by Chancellor John G. Murray, by all the 
clergy and a progressive directorate, more buildings were erected, 
the Russ and Taintor properties on Woodland Street and the 
Wolff property on Collins Street were secured for better accom- 
modation of nurses and internes, in 1917 the large wing was 
ready for occupancy, and in 1920 the fine extension, 212 by 50 
feet, was completed, giving an Ashley Street entrance hardly 
less effective than that into the administration building on Col- 
lins Street. When the hospitals of the country were standardized, 
St. Francis ranked in Class A, an attainment which itself tells 
of the amount of devotion and hard work on the part of the sup- 
porters of the institution. In 1926 the Woman's Auxiliary was 
formed, with Anna Prior Emmett president, to help make the 
burden lighter. In the hospital's first five months 314 patients 
received treatment; in the year 1926, almost 10,000. Mother 
Valencia was still treasurer and Dr. John F. Dowling was presi- 
dent of the large staff. There were fifteen free-bed funds, and 
the Frank C. Sumner, Mary W. Case, Silas Chapman, Jr., and 
John Ahern invested funds. 


Church and buildings on homestead grounds of Dr. Henry 



Bishop Michael Tierney (1839-1908) came with his family 
from Ireland to Norwalk. Educated at St. Thomas' College in 
Montreal and at Troy, he entered the priesthood in Providence. 
Later he was located at New New London, Stamford and Hartford 
(St. Peter's parish) where he built St. Peter's Convent and was 
in charge of the school and chapel of the cathedral. He went to 
New Britain in 1883 where he built a fine church on Main Street, 
and was recalled here to be bishop in 1894. His death was deeply 
felt by the entire community. 

Periodically, special effort was being made to overcome 
sundry evils springing from intemperance and indifference to 
moral standards. The city ranked well among other cities but it 
was felt by the public-spirited that it should rank better. Thomas 
E. Murphy, the magnetic temperance lecturer, devout believer in 
personal influence, held a series of interesting meetings in 1893, 
the effect of which was encouraging. The times had developed 
another energetic worker but of a somewhat different type, — 
Arba Lankton, one whose field was limited to the railroad trains 
and the street corners. He was known by the traveling public 
as ''Hartford's pop-corn man," and his basket of bags vanished 
quickly when he hurried through the car aisles or cried his wares 
on the streets. He had begun his open-air meetings as early as 
1856 and continued them till he caught his death-cold in 1905. 
Of the society he formed he himself was all of the officers. Into 
it he turned pretty nearly all the money he acquired, including 
not a few subscriptions, to use in his warfare upon alcohol and 
tobacco, his chief ammunition being his own little leaflets and his 
membership cards and pledges which were signed by thousands. 
Each year's published report showed an exact balance of receipts 
and expenditures with surplus zero. Always on the move, obliv- 
ious to laughter or ridicule, he was respected alike by the men of 
affairs and the dregs of humanity, and not a few became better 
citizens through his influence. 

It was in 1894 that a group of prominent citizens came 
together, confident that the desired improvement in conditions 
could better be brought about by organized work. At a meeting 
at which the first City Club of Hartford was formed — not for 


social enjoyment — Lieutenant Governor Ernest Cady presided 
and Archibald A. Welch was secretary. The signers of the con- 
stitution and by-laws were such men as William Waldo Hyde, 
Arthur L. Shipman, Charles Hopkins Clark, Charles E. Gross, 
James P. Andrews, John M. Holcombe, Wilbur F. Gordy, Archi- 
bald A. Welch, Louis R. Cheney, John M. Taylor, George C. F. 
Williams, Professor F. S. Luther (later president of Trinity Col- 
lege), W. I. Twitchell, Col. William C. Skinner and others whose 
names are conspicuous in Hartford's up-building. Like the "Com- 
mittee of Five" in the churches, they gave themselves to research 
and study, and while as an organization they did not continue 
down the years, their ability from that day to this to advise and 
assist in the various features of uplift then being inaugurated 
was much greater. 

The Charity Organization, in 1890, was development from the 
needs of the hour. It has been seen that Hartford fared better 
than many other cities in the period of national discontent that 
was coming on and which both natural conditions and erroneous 
legislation were to engender. Hartford began to analyze the 
problems as soon as they appeared. And one of them was how to 
aid intelligently instead of wastefully as was the first tendency. 
Expenditures of city and individuals for out-door relief were run- 
ning on into large sums, and children in families who could pre- 
sent orders and have them filled, without investigation, were 
growing up to think that that was the way to get a living. Col. 
Jacob L. Greene, president of the Connecticut Mutual Life, was 
president of this organization of careful students of the situation. 

In cooperation was the "Committee of Five," headed by Rev. 
John J. McCook. Going exhaustively into the subject, he gathered 
the statistics which showed that the United States was expending 
more per capita on unorganized giving of alms than any other 
nation, that Connecticut led the United States in this and that 
Hartford led Connecticut. The report of the committee became 
a textbook in the study of charity in public institutions. 

Of the many places where the record of Professor McCook's 
career might properly be given in the history of the last forty 
years, this may be as suitable as any, for it was here that his zeal- 
ous endeavor for his fellowman very distinctly began to attract 
the attention of a wide public. He was of the family known in 
Civil war times as the "fighting McCooks," so many of them were 


active in the war. Born in New Lisbon, 0., in 1843, he was a 
brother of Gen. Anson G. McCook of that state, and he himself 
left his books at Jefferson College to go out as a lieutenant in the 
First Virginia, U. S. V. When he returned to his studies, it 
was at Trinity where he was graduated in 1863. After a course 
in medicine, he decided to study for the ministry and, graduating 
at Berkeley Divinity School in Middletown, he was made priest 
in 1867. That school gave him the degree of D. D. in 1901 and 
Trinity that of LL. D. in 1910, at which college he so long was a 
professor. Following a year as rector of St. John's in Detroit, 
he accepted the position of rector of St. John's in East Hartford 
and continued as such till his death in 1926. In addition to his 
devotion to his parish and his progressive work which endeared 
him to Trinity, he was never sparing of his energies for advancing 
the interests of his local communities and of the state. He was 
president of the Trinity Board of Fellows from 1915, for several 
years chairman of the High School Committee in Hartford, presi- 
dent of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Reformatory 
in 1895-7, was one of the commissioners on penal legislation and 
during the World war was a member of the State Council of 

The plan of organized charity was so successful that in 1894 
David I. Green (1864-1925) was called here to act as superin- 
tendent. He was born in Independence, N. Y., was graduated at 
Alfred University in 1885 and obtained the degree of M. A. at 
Johns Hopkins. Especially fitted for this position he continued 
till 1918 when he accepted the position of professor of economics 
at Kenyon College. 

The United Jewish Charities of Hartford was organized, with 
similar and most effective intent ever since, in 1891. The Roman 
Catholic churches found solution for some of their problems and 
a means to greater efficiency when the Ladies of Charity was 
organized in 1897 in connection with St. Francis Hospital. The 
first Board of Charity Commissioners was appointed by Mayor 
Miles B. Preston in 1896 and William W. Stillman, clerk of the 
Board of Selectmen, was appointed superintendent, continuing 
in office till his death in 1925. 

For the benefit of needy widows George Beach established a 
home on Market Street with the idea that it should be self-sup- 
porting. In 1895, legacies having been received, another building 


was erected on South Hudson Street. Five years later the Beach 
family offered a site and coincidentally funds were received for 
a memorial to Maria Kelsey of Hartford. In addition to the 
Market Street home there soon were the George Beach Home on 
South Hudson Street and the Kelsey Memorial on extensive prop- 
erty on Wethersfield Avenue — all in charge of trustees under a 
corporation consisting of the rectors and wardens of Christ, St. 
John's and Trinity Episcopal churches. 

A very notable addition to this kind of institution was made 
when in the mid-'90s the Roman Catholics built St. Mary's Home 
on the beautiful West Hartford farm where Rose Terry Cooke 
was born. 

In the last two decades of the nineteenth century the allure- 
ments for the young were many and bold. Compared with today, 
there was less wanton expenditure, less contempt for the conven- 
tional hours for sleep ; but, taking the mass of youths as a whole, 
there was less ambition, — less opportunity and less disposition to 
get beyond the grammar school grades or the apprenticeship in 
the factories. Saloons, before the days of higher license fees, 
were so numerous as to embarass merchants and their patrons. 
There were gambling dens and brothels around the center of the 
cities, and "road houses" on the outskirts. Two low-class vaude- 
ville houses in the '80s nightly drew carousers. Such conditions 
were not uncommon throughout the country, and the better ele- 
ment in every city was grappling with the problem. Hartford 
was one of those where thoughtful men and women sought to get 
at the roots of the evils. 

One who has known the Young Men's Christian Association 
and kindred organizations only of today can with difficulty imag- 
ine the real motives of many who gave their aid in the '90s. The 
principle was that of attraction instead of compulsion and of 
stirring enthusiasm rather than prescribing regulations. The 
Hartford "Y", whose beginnings we have traced, had played its 
part quietly but effectively, according to its means, since its first 
meetings in the First Church lecture rooms, its house on Prospect 
Street and its rooms on Asylum Street. Now it was to be put to 
the test; it was to enter upon an era when it should become with 
certainty an indispensable feature of the community its citizens 
were determined Hartford should be. The great encouragement 
came when Gen. Charles T. Hillyer gave the land upon which 


the present buildings stand at the corner of Ford and Pearl 
streets. And in his memory in 1892, his son, Appleton R. Hill- 
yer, and his daughter, Clara E. Hillyer, with a gift of $50,000 
— the second of the family's many benefactions — established Hill- 
yer Institute for a manual-training and trades school, the begin- 
ning of the exceptional educational department of the association 
today. The fund for the original building was raised by public 
subscription, Frederick K. Fox, a well known grocer, giving 
$5,000, and it was ready for occupancy in November of 1892. 
The rooms were thronged with men and women, leaders in the 
city. Col. Charles A. Jewell presided ; Daniel R. Howe made the 
speech of presentation. Colonel Jewell who was president of the 
association from 1881 to 1891 and from 1897 to 1904, succeeding 
Charles E. Thompson, was always generous in his support, and 
the family name is borne by the auditorium in the main building. 
Mr. Howe, a foremost financier and man of affairs, was president 
from 1904 to 1913 and was likewise constant in his interest. There 
will be other chapters of the story of the association within the 
scope of this history and still others within the scope of future 

General Hillyer (1800-1891) was the son of Col. Andrew H. 
Hillyer of Granby, whose ancestors were among the earliest col- 
onists. After conducting a store in Granby for some time, Mr. 
Hillyer came to Hartford in 1853 where he organized the Charter 
Oak Bank and was president of it till 1879 when he was succeeded 
by his long associate as cashier, J. F. Morris. He was also con- 
nected with other financial institutions and became the wealthiest 
man in the town. Active in the militia from young manhood, he 
was adjutant-general from 1840 for six years. In the Civil war 
he served on the local war committee and was offered the colonelcy 
of the Sixteenth C. V., but declined because of age. Company 
B of the Twenty-second adopted his name because of the interest 
he showed, and after the war the Hillyer Guard was one of the 
leading companies in the newly organized National Guard. He 
believed in the future of the West, attesting his faith with a large 
amount of capital. In Illinois he bought at less than one cent an 
acre 60,000 acres of land that was in the possession of the Bank 
of England. His donations to other institutions besides the 
Y. M. C. A. were liberal. 

Among the bequests of the decade which were to help on these 


various promotive enterprises were those of Mrs. Mary J. Keeney, 
Mrs. Susan Clark and of Lucy Morgan Goodwin, sister of Junius 
S. Morgan, wife of Maj. James Goodwin and mother of Rev. 
Frances Goodwin. Mrs. Goodwin was born in West Springfield 
in 1811 but at the time of her death in 1890, Hartford had been 
her home for many years and Hartford had enjoyed her benefi- 
cence, to be continued after her own constant and varied activities 
had ceased. 

Back in the mid-'80s a group of young men formed St. Paul's 
Guild of Christ Episcopal Church and among other activities 
started a reading room at the corner of Main and Morgan streets. 
Believing that they could go farther into the "East Side" they 
opened another room on Front Street in 1888. They rejoiced in 
the comfort and pleasure evinced by the unfortunate men who 
came there every night. A superintendent was engaged, parti- 
tions were torn down and room was furnished for that Gospel 
Mission work which was much in vogue then, encouraged largely 
by the Moody and Sankey meetings. The name Open Hearth 
was adopted. To make it mean more the institution, incorporated 
in 1893, provided lodgings and furnished meals in tents erected 
near the house, and then provided work for men to do by which 
to earn their fare. Endowments came, including one of $10,000 
by the will of Mrs. Mary J. Keeney; there was a men's Bible class 
and frequent entertainments were given by young folks from 
the "West Side." Women and children came with the men till 
provided for in another way. 

To continue the story so interestingly begun: By 1892 the 
demand for more room was met by buying the historic old Bar- 
nabas Deane house on Grove Street, said by antiquarians and 
artists to be the city's finest specimen of colonial architecture then 
standing. At the opening, in April, 1892, hundreds of people 
gathered to admire the wide grounds, the wood yards, the lodging 
rooms, the quarters in the large barn, and the children's play- 
grounds. It had become the day of the genuine "tramp;" any 
unfortunate who wished to rise above that class found his oppor- 
tunity here. So many improved the opportunity that in 1908 
a brick building, St. Paul's Hall, with dormitory, reading room 
and baths was erected on the grounds and was dedicated by Bishop 
Brewster. Superintendent John H. Jackson reported that the 
previous year 50,000 lodgers had been accommodated and meals 


furnished at a total cost of less than 2 cents for each man — a 
wonderful saving over the cost of maintaining a city lodging 
house, and this only a part of the good work. By the time of the 
World war, there were few unemployed ; the hall was used by the 
Italians, for Americanization work and as a reading room. The 
property was sold to the Hartford Club, to be cleared for a greatly 
needed parking space, and with the proceeds a former saloon and 
residence building on Sheldon Street near Colt's factory, was 
made over for an up-to-date "hearth," to which the brick structure 
readily lent itself. There was abundant space and facilities were 
up to date. Charles DeLancey Alton, Jr., the president, the whole 
Board of Trustees and Superintendent Herbert F. Baker felt 
that they were ready for any need should need again develop as 
in the '90s. The public must now be called upon to assist in the 
enlargement, even though it is made necessary not by local condi- 
tions of industry. 

In the early '90s some of the women, chiefly of the Episcopal 
churches, interested themselves in the women of the "East Side" 
— in what today would be called "social welfare." Superintendent 
B. N. B. Miller of the Open Hearth assisted. Rooms were secured 
on Front Street in 1891, which were given up for others on Temple 
Street the following year and Hartford's Shelter for Women was 
well on in its noble work. The need for the work decreased in 
time, the locality was being required for great mercantile business 
and in these later years the Shelter removed to Ann Street. There 
Gray Lodge was established, not for the friendless but for girls 
getting a start and having only small income. It is in charge of 
Miss Harriet T. Johnson, and must soon be enlarged. 

The feature of the work which gave the institution its name 
is carried on, under these better conditions of the times, by the 
Woman's Aid Society on Barbour Street, which was organized in 
1878 and chartered in 1881, by women many of whom also were 
interested in the original Shelter. The men who have aided 
included Rev. Francis Goodwin, Wilbur F. Gordy, J. G. Calhoun 
and Atwood Collins. 

As just said, the children were not be lost sight of, in the 
crowding of the Open Hearth. "Social welfare" was all-embrac- 
ing. For the benefit of the younger boys and girls, this energetic 
group of women, drawing still others to their ranks, secured a 
quaint little brick house on North Street, just off the Valley rail- 


road tracks where the street and the then muddy river bank were 
the only play ground. The seemingly out-of-place brick house 
may have been a relic of those times when the great wharves 
were built near here an